Morpheus Lander

From Project Morpheus:

Morpheus is a vertical test bed vehicle demonstrating new green propellant propulsion systems and autonomous landing and hazard detection technology. Designed, developed, manufactured and operated in-house by engineers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, the Morpheus Project represents not only a vehicle to advance technologies, but also an opportunity to try out “lean development” engineering practices.

It was manufactured and assembled at JSC and Armadillo Aerospace. 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.  The primary focus of the test bed is to demonstrate an integrated propulsion and guidance, navigation and control system that can fly a lunar descent profile to exercise the Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology (ALHAT) safe landing sensors and closed-loop flight control. Additional objectives include technology demonstrations – for instance, tank material and manufacture, reaction control thrusters, main engine performance improvements, helium pressurization systems, ground operations, flight operations, range safety, software and avionics architecture.

Morpheus is a full spacecraft, with all the associated subsystems: avionics; software; guidance, navigation and control; power; power distribution; structures; propulsion; and instrumentation.  Morpheus’ propellant combination – liquid oxygen and methane – is of particular interest for a number of reasons.  It can be stored for longer times in space, compared to other common propellants such as liquid hydrogen.  It is extremely cheap and safe to operate and test, and performs better – much more so than hypergols, another type of fuel often used in spaceflight.

In addition, the methane can also be made from ice on the moon or Mars. In fact, about 1,000 pounds of methane are produced on International Space Station and dumped overboard as waste gas every year – enough to entirely fill the Morpheus lander.

For in-space propellant transfer, Morpheus utilizes the propellant of choice for future missions that would utilize in-space refueling and/or depots. In addition, the lander has all the systems required for automated rendezvous and docking.  With modification of the propellant and pressurization system for transfer plumbing and a docking mechanism that meets the international docking standard, two landers could rendezvous in low Earth orbit and demonstrate all the key technologies required for in-space propellant transfer and storage of mid-temperature range cryogenic propellants. For an asteroid rendezvous, the lander would need more study, but conceptually the lander may have most of the systems needed to attempt an asteroid rendezvous.  The precision landing system for Project Morpheus, with some modification to the software, could be used as is to rendezvous with an asteroid.

Video uploaded bu U tube user  

Free Flight Test

The Morpheus lander, which has undergone over a dozen tethered flights at Johnson Space Center failed today in its first untethered flight at Kennedy Space Center.

A moon surface, with rocks and obstacles had been built all ready for the lander’s flight, but on ignition the vehicle flipped and landed upside down, A minute later the tanks then exploded. There were no injuries or property damage however it is unknown if the Morpheus program will continue.

Well that’s why these are test flights, nothing is 100% not even when ready, we still sit at 99.9%

Video uploaded by U Tube user  


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