This has been an important week for NASA and its experimental prototype lander spacecraft called Morpheus. The spacecraft conducted its first successful free flight on December 10. Yesterday the spacecraft performed its second successful free flight.
On December 17, Morpheus climbed 82 feet into the air and then hovered. The spacecraft climbed to 150 feet in altitude before it landed in a field purposefully strewn with debris. The landing field looks like a simulation of the moon’s surface.
The second free flight test lasted 81 seconds and lifted off at 1:37pm local time at the Kennedy Space Center. The two successful free flights come after a new prototype was built following a crash and explosion of the original craft last year in testing.
Morpheus is powered by liquid methane. The spacecraft is testing special green propulsion technologies and autonomous hazard detection and landing systems. More use of those technologies are expected to be incorporated into flights next year.
SOURCE: Florida Today