NASA has resumed tethered flight testing of the Morpheus lander, based on the Pixel lander developed by Armadillo Aerospace for the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge.

The first Morpheus lander was destroyed in an accident on August 9, 2012 during the first attempted free-flight test at Kennedy Space Center. NASA has funded two replacements, Morpheus B and C. The new vehicles have an upgraded 5,000-pound thrust engine, about 20% than Morpheus A (4,200 pounds thrust).

The first fully integrated test of Morpheus B was conducted on May 1.

The following video, posted on May 21, shows the first use of a flame trench with the Morpheus lander.

The Morpheus lander is sized to land a Robonaut-sized payload on the Moon. The goal of the current tethered tests is to prepare for future free flights at Kennedy Space Center, including a kilometer-long approach test along the former Shuttle runway as shown in the following simulation.

Written by Astro1 on May 21st, 2013 , Armadillo Aerospace

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