NASA lander explodes, Project Morpheus moon lander fails during test flight (Video)

By on Aug 10, 2012 in Astronomy, United States Comments

A National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) lander exploded on Thursday, August 9, 2012 during its first test flight at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), as shown in the video below.

NASA moon lander on fire
Image Credit: NASA video

According to a statement by NASA on its official website that day, the unmanned Project Morpheus vehicle 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 immediately extinguished by KSC fire personnel.

As noted by NASA, engineers are now looking into the test data and information will be released when it becomes available, with failures like these notably were anticipated before the test, and is part of the development process for any complex spaceflight hardware.

“The vehicle itself is lost. But we are working currently on gathering more data and information to understand what occurred in the test and how we can learn from it and move forward.” Project Morpheus manager Jon Olansen told reporters, as quoted by CNN.

“From early indications, it seems to be within our guidance navigation control system, seems to point toward hardware. We want to make sure that what we learn today gets applied to that next vehicle.” Olansen added, noting that the test lander that exploded costs roughly “in the $500,000 class.”

Project Morpheus, which Olansen said that NASA has spent about $7 million over two and a half years, has another lander that is now under construction at the Johnson Space Center in Houston; and is being expected to complete in two to three months.

NASA moon lander explodes during test flight
Video Credit: bbrockert/YouTube/NASA

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