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 hazard field and determine safe landing sites. Morpheus then flew forward and downward covering approximately 1,300 feet while performing a 78-foot divert to simulate a hazard avoidance maneuver. The lander descended and landed on a dedicated pad inside the test field.
Time-lapse of ALMA array
Credit: ESO/José Francisco Salgado