At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a flatbed truck carrying the Project Morpheus lander arrives at a support building at the Shuttle Landing Facility, or SLF. Testing of the prototype lander has been ongoing at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in preparation for free flight testing at Kennedy.
The SLF will provide the lander with the kind of field necessary for realistic testing, complete with rocks, craters and hazards to avoid. Morpheus utilizes an autonomous landing and hazard avoidance technology, or ALHAT, payload that will allow it to navigate to clear landing sites amidst rocks, craters and other hazards during its descent. Project Morpheus is one of 20 small projects comprising the Advanced Exploration Systems, or AES, program in NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. AES projects pioneer new approaches for rapidly developing prototype systems, demonstrating key capabilities and validating operational concepts for future human missions beyond Earth orbit. For more information on Project Morpheus, visit http://www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/exploration/morpheus/index.html. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett