World Bulletin / News Desk
A small NASA lander being tested for missions to the moon and other destinations beyond Earth crashed and burned after veering off course during a trial run at theKennedy Space Center on Thursday, officials with the U.S. space agency said.
There were no injuries after the prototype, known as Morpheus, burst into flames near the runway formerly used by NASA's space shuttles.
The insect-like vehicle, designed and built by engineers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, had made several flights attached to a crane before Thursday's attempted free-flight.
Morpheus' engines, which burn liquid oxygen and methane, appeared to ignite as planned, lifting the 1,750-pound (794 kg) vehicle into the air. But a few seconds later, Morpheus rolled over on its side and plummeted to the ground.
NASA video showed the vehicle engulfed in flames and then rocked by a spectacular explosion, presumably due to the fuel tanks rupturing.
“"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 indeveloping technologies that could be used to fly cargo to the moon and other future missions beyond Earth orbit.
Project Morpheus was an example of what the former project manager called "“Home Depot engineering" - low-budget projects that use existing resources and partner with non-traditional aerospace companies.
“"The Morpheus lander is kind of our poster child. It's one of our first attempts to do these kinds of projects," former project manager Matt Ondler said in an interview with Reuters last year.
“"Instead of building some elaborate test structure, you go to Home Depot and build something very quickly that gets you 80 percent of the answer and allows you to keep moving forward," he said.
Morpheus arrived at Florida's seaside space center in July for three months of increasingly rigorous test flights, including automated landings in a mock moonscape, complete with craters and boulders.
The lander was designed to deliver about 1,100 pounds (500 kg) of cargo to the moon, NASA said on its Project Morpheus website.
Technologies being developed include a propulsion system that uses liquid oxygen and methane -- green fuels that could be manufactured on other planetary bodies, NASA said.
The accident happened as NASA scientists were still hailing the Mars rover Curiosity's descent and landing on the Red Planet earlier this week as a "“miracle of engineering."
Product available for pre-order in nine countries but devices won’t ship for weeks.
Nobel Prize-winning scientists' discovery can be manufactured cheaper thanks to Nanografi process.
Most industry experts expect the first product of 5G technology in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
The slowdown in the rate of rising temperatures, from faster gains in the 1980s and 1990s, has puzzled scientists because heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions
The discovery challenges currently held theories that black holes and their host galaxies grew in relative lockstep over the eons.
Australian researchers are developing the new way to have a final product for Boeing Co, Airbus Group NV, very quickly than now. 3D printing can cut production times for components from three months to just six days.
Bogachev is charged in the United States with running a computer attack network called GameOver Zeus that allegedly stole more than $100 million from online bank accounts.
The account started sharing videos and photos of the militant group a few days ago
U.S., UK spies hacked SIM card maker Gemalto's system, Intercept says, giving spies ability to monitor calls on billions of phones
The next time an earthquake hits the Pacific Northwest, a handful of computers in offices across the region will have access to a software that will send out an alarm, alerting people before the earthquake strikes.
Researchers in Britain have discovered that limpet teeth exhibit a strength that is potentially higher than spider silk.
Epigenetic differences are one reason identical twins, who have identical DNA, do not always develop the same genetic diseases, including cancer.
Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria.
The makers of mobile travel app "Bey2ollak" have warn on bomb scares and resulting hold-ups in Cairo and Alexandria using the hashtag #WhereIsTheBomb.
The preschool programme, aimed at children aged between three and six, is based on the Finnish National Curriculum, widely considered one of the world's best education systems.