Preparations are underway to prepare the Project Morpheus prototype lander for its first free flight test at the north end of the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Testing of the prototype lander was performed at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in preparation for tethered and free flight testing at Kennedy. Project Morpheus integrates NASA’s automated landing and hazard avoidance technology, or 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.
The landing facility will provide the lander with the kind of field necessary for realistic testing, complete with rocks, craters and hazards to avoid. Morpheus’ ALHAT payload allows it to navigate to clear landing sites amidst rocks, craters and other hazards during its descent. Project Morpheus is being managed under the Advanced Exploration Systems, or AES, Division in NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. The efforts in AES 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://morpheuslander.jsc.nasa.gov. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett