Morpheus Completes Free Flight at Kennedy Space Center

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — A free-flight test of the Morpheus prototype lander was conducted December 15 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida. The 97-second test began at 4:11 p.m. EST with the Morpheus lander lifting off from the ground over a flame trench and ascending more than 800 feet.

Utilizing the autonomous landing and hazard avoidance technology (ALHAT) sensors, the vehicle pitched into a 30-degree glide slope and surveyed the hazard field to determine safe landing sites. Morpheus then flew forward and downward, covering approximately 1,300 feet before descending to a landing at the ALHAT-targeted safe site.

Project Morpheus tests NASA’s ALHAT and an engine that runs on liquid oxygen and methane, which are green propellants. These new capabilities could be used in future efforts to deliver cargo to planetary surfaces. Morpheus and ALHAT are examples of the partnerships that exist within the agency.

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