Constellations, Launch, New Space and more…
TAG
“Morpheus”
2018 Was Busy Year for Suborbital Flight Tests

SpaceShipTwo fires its hybrid engine. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

Part 2 of 2

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

There were 15 flight tests of eight suborbital boosters in 2018, including six flights of two vehicles — Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo and Blue Origin’s New Shepard — that are designed to carry passengers on space tourism rides.

The race to provide launch services to the booming small satellite industry also resulted in nine flight tests of six more conventional boosters to test technologies for orbital systems. Two of the boosters tested are designed to serve the suborbital market as well.

A pair of Chinese startups took advantage of a loosening of government restrictions on launch providers to fly their rockets two times apiece. There was also suborbital flight tests of American, Japanese and South Korean rockets.

(more…)

  • Parabolic Arc
  • January 22, 2019
NASA Developing Flying Drones for Other Worlds
A prototype built to test Extreme Access Flyer systems in different environments. (Credits: NASA/Swamp Works)

A prototype built to test Extreme Access Flyer systems in different environments. (Credits: NASA/Swamp Works)

By Steven Siceloff
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

Swamp Works engineers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida are inventing a flying robotic vehicle that can gather samples on other worlds in places inaccessible to rovers. The vehicles – similar to quad-copters but designed for the thin atmosphere of Mars and the airless voids of asteroids and the moon – would use a lander as a base to replenish batteries and propellants between flights.

(more…)

  • Parabolic Arc
  • August 9, 2015
NASA’s STMD Helps Pave the Way to Mars
During its first free flight test at night, Morpheus (a Human Exploration and Operations MD project) tests NASA's ALHAT and an engine that runs on liquid oxygen and methane, which are green propellants. These capabilities could be used in the future to deliver cargo to planetary surfaces. (Credit: NASA)

During its first free flight test at night, Morpheus (a Human Exploration and Operations MD project) tests NASA’s ALHAT and an engine that runs on liquid oxygen and methane, which are green propellants. These capabilities could be used in the future to deliver cargo to planetary surfaces. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) is paving the way for future Mars exploration. The directorate is currently investing in and developing bold, disruptive technology required for future deep-space missions. This critical work leads a concerted effort throughout the agency, including at the program level and across multiple centers, as well as with partners in American industry.

“NASA remains committed to developing the critical technologies required to enable future exploration missions beyond low Earth orbit,” said Michael Gazarik, associate administrator for STMD. “Within STMD, we are focusing on creating advanced technologies that could lead to entirely new approaches for the needs of the agency’s future space missions, especially on Mars.”

(more…)

  • Parabolic Arc
  • June 3, 2014
Watch Morpheus Make a Night Flight

Video Caption: The first free-flight test of the Morpheus prototype lander at night was conducted May 28 at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The 98-second test began at 10:02 p.m. EDT with the Morpheus lander launching from the ground over a flame trench and ascending more than 800 feet. The vehicle relied on its autonomous landing and hazard avoidance technology sensors to survey the […]

  • Parabolic Arc
  • June 2, 2014
Awesome Video of Morpheus’ Fifth Flight

Video Caption: The fifth free-flight test of a Morpheus prototype lander was conducted Feb. 10, 2014, at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility. The 74-second test began around 1 p.m. EST with the Morpheus lander launching from the ground over a flame trench and ascending at 42 feet per second to 467 feet, more than 160 feet higher than its last test. Morpheus then flew forward, covering 637 feet […]

  • Parabolic Arc
  • February 11, 2014
Cool Morpheus Free Flight Video

Video Caption: The third free flight of a Morpheus prototype lander was conducted Jan. 16, 2014 at the north end of the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The 57-second test began at 1:15 p.m. EST with the Morpheus lander launching from the ground over a flame trench and ascending about 187 feet. The lander then flew forward, covering about 154 feet in 20 seconds before […]

  • Parabolic Arc
  • January 25, 2014
Watch Morpheus Vehicle Fly

Video Caption: Morpheus Bravo vehicle executed a successful tether test on August 7, 2013 at Johnson Space Center. The combined Morpheus/JPL team met all test objectives including engine ignition, ascent, a 3 meter lateral translation over simulated Mars soil provided by JPL to help them with a plume study, 40 seconds of hover at the apex, and a slant descent to “landing” using free flight guidance. The entire flight duration […]

  • Parabolic Arc
  • August 9, 2013
Morpheus is Back — for the Sequel
The Morpheus vehicle. (Credit: Kris Kehea)

The Morpheus vehicle. (Credit: Kris Kehea)

JOHNSON SPACE CENTER, TX (NASA PR) — The roar of a 5,000 pound rocket engine has returned to the Johnson Space Center. The Morpheus team has completed the build-up of our “Bravo” vehicle, conducted numerous integrated tests, and has now stepped into our flight test program. We are picking up where we left off – in fact we never stopped working.

(more…)

  • Parabolic Arc
  • May 13, 2013
Spectacular Video: Morpheus Crashes and Burns in Test Flight

Video Caption: The first free flight of Nasa JSC’s Morpheus LOX-Methane vertical takeoff, vertical landing rocket vehicle. It appears to have had a guidance failure. The heat of the methane burning then burst a LOX tank. The flight was at KSC.

  • Parabolic Arc
  • August 9, 2012
Morpheus Sets World on Fire….Literally!

Rocket scientists at Johnson Space Center conducted a successful test of Morpheus yesterday. Unfortunately, it had a bad side effect…. We didn’t start the fire, it was always burning since….No, wait. We did. No one was injured in the grass fire.

  • Parabolic Arc
  • June 2, 2011