The multi-center Morpheus Team successfully completed Free Flight8 (FF8) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) on Wednesday, March 5th, 2014. FF8, the 6th free flight of the Bravo vehicle, flew to 467 feet (142m), altitude and then traversed 637 feet (194m) in 36 seconds, including diverting course mid-flight, before landing in the hazard field 56 feet (17m) from its original target (simulating hazard avoidance). Initial data indicates a nominal flight meeting all test objectives. The vehicle flew its pre-planned trajectory flawlessly, as the attached images comparing actual to predicted trajectory shows, reaching a max ascent velocity of 13 m/s, and landing approximately 10in from its intended target 79 seconds after launch. The Morpheus Team again demonstrated engineering and operational excellence, relying upon training, discipline and experience to ensure today’s success.
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.