KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida -- At approximately 12:45 p.m. on August 9, 2012, a free-flight test of the Project Morpheus lander resulted in the craft crashing and catching on fire at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. A small leak was contained just minutes prior to the test.
NASA issued the following statement after the test:
"During the free-flight test of the Project Morpheus vehicle on August 9, it lifted off the ground and then experienced a hardware component failure, which prevented it from maintaining stable flight. No one was injured and the resulting fire was extinguished by Kennedy Space Center fire personnel. Engineers are looking into the test data and the agency will release information as it comes available. Failures such as these were anticipated prior to the test and are part of the development process for any complex spaceflight hardware. What we learn from these tests will help us build the best possible system in the future."
Project Morpheus is one of 20 small projects in the NASA Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate's Advanced Exploration Systems program. These projects pioneer new approaches for rapidly developing prototype systems, demonstrating key capabilities and validating operational concepts for future human missions beyond Earth orbit.
Video Credit: NASA