NASA Morpheus Moon Lander Explodes & Burns at Kennedy Space Center

NASA’s project Morpheus, a lander designed to carry heavy cargo to the moon, has crashed and exploded at Kennedy Space Center.

Designed to carry up to 1,100 pounds, the project was undergoing a free-flight test today when it caught fire and blew up.

Morpheus is fueled by liquid oxygen and methane — two fuels that could someday be extracted from materials found on the moon and mars.

According to NASA’s Project Morpheus blog:

The Morpheus team successfully flew our first tether test at Kennedy Space Center on Friday August 3rd. The objectives for this flight, along with the dry and wet runs earlier in the week, were to verify all systems were in good working order after shipping from Johnson Space Center in July and to allow the new KSC support team an opportunity to move through flight procedures. After looking over the data over the weekend and coming together for a Test Readiness Review, our Project Manager, Jon Olansen, approved our first ever free flight for August 7th. This will be the first time we will fly the vehicle without a crane attached. The crane was used in previous tests as a safety mechanism to allow each subsystem to safely tune their individual systems for a smooth stable flight.

Here’s the tether test video:

Tether Test 20 – First KSC FlightOn Friday August 3rd 2012, the Morpheus Team successfully flew it's first flight at Kennedy Space Center. This flight will lead the way to the first untethered flight of the Morpheus vehicle.2012-08-06T03:41:35.000Z