10 August 2012
NASA's Morpheus lander explodes during test at KSC
Bay News 9

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NASA's project Morpheus lander catches fire just before exploding during a test at the Kennedy Space Center - Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER --  NASA's project Morpheus lander exploded during a free-flight test Thursday at the Kennedy Space Center.

During the test, the capsule tipped over and crashed, caught fire and exploded around 12:40 p.m.

"[The] vehicle lifted off the ground and then experienced a hardware component failure, which prevented it from maintaining stable flight," said NASA spokeswoman Laurel Lichtenberger. "No one was injured, and the resulting fire was extinguished by KSC fire personnel."

The lander had been put through testing for a year, and had previously completed a successful tether test at KSC a week earlier.

"Engineers are looking into the incident, and the agency will release information as it comes available," said Lichtenberger.

The goal was to fly approximately a half-mile and then land safely.

There is no word yet on any future test flights for the lander.

Morpheus is a NASA-designed vehicle large enough to carry 1,100 pounds of cargo to the moon.

It is one of 20 projects NASA engineers are working on for future deep space missions.

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