Morpheus Shows Off New Moves in Second Free Flight
The second free flight of a Morpheus prototype lander was conducted Dec. 17, 2013 at the north end of the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The 81-second test began at 1:37 p.m. EST with the Morpheus lander launching from the ground over a flame trench and ascending about 164 feet, pausing briefly at 82 feet. The lander then flew forward, covering about 154 feet in 30 seconds before descending and landing on a dedicated landing pad inside the autonomous landing and hazard avoidance technology (ALHAT) hazard field. Morpheus landed within 3.5 inches of its target. Project Morpheus tests NASA automated landing and hazard avoidance technology and an engine that runs on liquid oxygen and methane, or “green” propellants. These new capabilities could be used in future efforts to deliver cargo to planetary surfaces.