NASA's Morpheus Lander gets new technology



BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - On Thursday, the Morpheus Lander will complete one of its last flight tests at the Kennedy Space Center.

Eyewitness News was invited inside the Morpheus hangar at the Kennedy Space Center.

The spacecraft is the first NASA prototype to be propelled using liquid oxygen and liquid methane.

“What we’re trying to do is buy that technology risk for future risk so they can take already tested technologies and infuse them into their mission,” said Morpheus project manager Jon Olansen.

Those could be either manned or unmanned missions.

The Morpheus Lander is also equipped with laser sensors that help the lander map its landing surface to avoid dangerous conditions.

On Thursday, the autonomous landing and hazard avoidance technology will be put to the test with a simulated moon landing.

“With real-time hazard detection avoidance, it’s never been done,” said ALHAT project manager Chirold Epp.

The hazard field where Morpheus will land represent the South Pole lunar surface.

“All the data on this thing shows it will work, and I’m expecting it to work,” Epp said.

The Morpheus project has cost about $14 million over the course of its four years.

Engineers are hopeful their efforts will save NASA much more in the years to come.

The last free-flight test for Morpheus will be next Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Center.