“Look Ma, No Tether”: Morpheus Flies Free in Kennedy Test
The first free flight of a Morpheus prototype lander was conducted Dec. 10, 2013, at Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility. The 54-second test began with the Morpheus lander launching from the ground over a flame trench and ascending approximately 15 meters, then hovering for about 15 seconds, a 7.5m lateral translation, and then landing within 6 inches of its intended target – about 23 feet from the launch point. This test is the first in a series of free flights that will increase in altitude, distance & speed over the next few months
Project Morpheus integrates NASA’s automated landing and hazard avoidance technology (ALHAT) with an engine that runs on liquid oxygen and methane, or “green” propellants, into a fully operational lander that could deliver cargo to asteroids and other planetary surfaces.