NASA's Morpheus prototype lander performed its 13th free-flight test Thursday from the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The 97-second test began at 2:30 p.m. EDT with the Morpheus lander launching from the ground over a flame trench and ascending more than 800 feet and safely touching down on lunar-like surface.
Morpheus is a prototype planetary lander capable of vertical takeoff and landing. Designed to serve as a vertical testbed for advanced spacecraft technologies, the vehicle provides a platform for bringing technologies from the laboratory into an integrated flight system at relatively low cost. This allows individual technologies to mature into capabilities that can be incorporated into human exploration missions.