Morpheus Lander Crashes and Burns

Article written: 9 Aug , 2012
Updated: 23 Dec , 2015

NASA’s “lean and green” Morpheus lander crashed and burned during a free flight test at Kennedy Space Center today, August 9, at approximately 12:46 pm EDT.

Watch a video of the failed test after the jump:

Designed in-house at Johnson Space Center, the Morpheus lander is engineered to use a liquid oxygen and methane fuel — relatively cheap materials that can be stored easily and would be available resources on other worlds besides Earth.

Morpheus’ first successful tethered flight had just occurred a few days earlier, on August 3.

It IS still rocket science, after all…

Images: NASA TV

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25 Responses

  1. Member
    Aqua4U says

    DuhOOOO! Lucky it missed that big rig trailer(?) in the bg… which might have been full of O2 or Methane?

  2. Per Edman says

    Good thing the flight test was free.

  3. soul68 says

    That’s why they are called test flights.

  4. Shootist says

    God and Mr Heinlein will one day be proven right. The only good space ship is one that takes off and lands straight up and down.

    • Zoutsteen from Holland says

      For Heinlein it would be enough if his cat agrees purringly.

    • Torbj√∂rn Larsson says

      Don’t forget Santa Claus and Aunt Edna, experts on travel.

      • Shootist says

        It is a variant of a quote from Dr. Jerry Pournelle. Speaking of DC/X, Pournelle said, ” It flew
        straight up, moved sideways, and landed on a tail of fire just as God and
        Robert Heinlein intended rockets to do.”

  5. Jim Scotti says

    This isn’t rocket science – this is rocket engineering – that’s a lot harder than rocket science…. As they say, you learn more from failures than successes, so I bet they learn a lot from this.

    • TerryG says

      True Scotti. Of course, there’d be a lot less heartache if only they could cover the test article with landing legs (similar in appearance to a distressed Puffer fish). This way, you could still uncover the untethered failure modes and keep to the test schedule but without risking the Kaa-boom outcome.

  6. A Spot in Houston says

    FYI, Morpheus has had many several successful tethered flights at JSC. It’s only just arrived at KSC, though. Please correct the summary.

  7. Queequeg de la Pequod says

    Now, that is the wrong attitude.

  8. There is already another being built to replace this one, the tests will continue…

  9. WHAT IF I TOLD YOU… that I was going to flop over on my back like that Olympic diver?
    – Morpheus

  10. Member
    Aqua4U says

    I got curious about what Morpheus was all about and found this statement in a ‘Spaceflight Now’ blog’… “It was manufactured and assembled at JSC and Armadillo Aerospace,” the project said on its web page. “Morpheus is large enough to carry 1,100
    pounds of cargo to the moon — for example, a humanoid robot, a small
    rover, or a small laboratory to convert moon dust into oxygen —
    performing all propellant burns after the trans-lunar injection.”

    Key words here are humanoid robot, small rover or lab and Morpheus’ ability to perform all propellant burns after TLI. This puppy is/was Nasa’s next lunar lander! Now I’m bummed… [email protected]; P

  11. Kawarthajon says

    I know it wasn’t supposed to go KABOOM, but that must have been pretty awesome to watch anyhow. What a blast!!!

  12. Hello? Fire supression system? Where are you?

  13. I hate it when they do that. I’ve seen old V2 test footage. There was one that just farted and fell over and blew up.

  14. But the real failure in all of this, is that someone who is paid to write for a living still uses the phrase, “After the jump.”

  15. Thats what happens when you have a specified mount of “money” to use. We people could build something much better if it always wasnt for the “money”, geez, i feel sorry for you all..

  16. nuoji says

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