The aircraft flew 325 metres (1066 feet) into the air – higher than Manhattan’s Chrysler Building – before landing vertically back onto its launch pad.
It was the first time the Grasshopper had made full use of its navigation sensor suite, which is accurate enough to carry out vertical precision landing allowing the rocket to land back to Earth intact.
While most rockets are designed to burn up on atmosphere reentry, the 10-storey tall Grasshopper rocket is designed to withstand reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere and to land back vertically onto its launch pad.
There’s more at the link. Here’s video of the trial, shot from an unmanned small helicopter hovering at the same altitude. I highly recommend watching it in full-screen mode.
Congratulations to SpaceX on an achievement so far unmatched by anyone else. Reminds me of old-time science fiction of the 1930’s, ’40’s and ’50’s, where such launch-and-land rockets were the staple of everyone’s imagination. Could truth emulate fiction at last?