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NASA's $7 Million Morpheus Lander Crashes and Burns: VIDEO


A lander being tested for missions to the Moon and beyond crashed and burned at Cape Canaveral seconds after lifting off in a first test of free flight yesterday, causing a spectacular explosion as its oxygen and methane fuel tanks exploded.

Reuters reports:

"Failures such as these were anticipated prior to the test, and are part of the development process for any complex spaceflight hardware," NASA said in a statement. An investigation is under way, the statement added.

Project Morpheus began in partnership with privately owned Armadillo Aerospace, which is developing re-usable, suborbital vehicles that take off and land vertically.

NASA, which has spent about $7 million on the project over the past 2-1/2 years, is interested in developing technologies that could be used to fly cargo to the moon and other future missions beyond Earth orbit.

Watch the crash in HD, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Well, no wonder it blew; the idiot counting down skipped "one".

    Posted by: Otkon | Aug 10, 2012 7:41:38 AM

  2. NASA has SPENT $7 million on the project, but the lander itself only cost around $500,000

    Posted by: Ryan | Aug 10, 2012 8:12:06 AM

  3. It didn't occur to anyone to have the fire department close by before launch...?

    Posted by: Chadd | Aug 10, 2012 8:33:24 AM

  4. Apparently no one is still around who remembers how many rockets blew up on the launch pad before the Mercury program... this is why it's called "testing".

    Posted by: Mike in Houston | Aug 10, 2012 8:57:12 AM

  5. Doi!!!

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 10, 2012 9:24:20 AM

  6. Boo! Too much dust around it to see the explosion very well. :-)

    Mike in Houston is right, but I'd add that the Soviets contributed greatly to rocket explosion videos too.

    Posted by: Henry Holland | Aug 10, 2012 10:28:37 AM

  7. @CHADD -- What would the fire department do that's safer than letting it burn itself out? No harm came to the gravel on the test pad.

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Aug 10, 2012 10:31:11 AM

  8. What was the folding chair for? The summer intern nobody liked?

    Posted by: Don | Aug 10, 2012 10:32:27 AM

  9. People also have to remember that science is expensive - there is no economy of scale. Everything is handmade initially, and in very limited numbers after, and that requires cadres of highly skilled people. Heck, even in a regular bio lab, a million pays for 35% of a professor, one highly skilled lab person and (maybe) a low skilled lab person (plus supplies) for five years. In aeropsace, the fabrication must be tremendously expensive.

    Posted by: Tarc | Aug 10, 2012 12:50:18 PM

  10. This is why you shouldn't make spacecrafts out of disco balls. Perhaps they should rename the project after Morpheus' brother, Phobetor (the personification of nightmares).

    Posted by: ruddigore | Aug 10, 2012 1:15:29 PM

  11. Well, back to the drawing board to
    find out what went wrong and fix it.

    NASA still ROCKS!

    Curiosity rules Mars! :-)

    Posted by: BrokebackBob | Aug 10, 2012 1:28:28 PM

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