During its first attempt at free flight today at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA's Morpheus lander crashed and caught on fire.
According to NASA PAO: "During today's free-flight test of the 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 extinguished by KSC fire personnel. Engineers are looking into the incident and the agency will release information as it comes available."
The crash was reported instantly on Twitter:
@InsideKSC: Photo of the @MorpheusLander a split second before impact during its failed free flight test today at KSC: pic.twitter.com/0G8UJ40V
@InsideKSC: OP FAILURE: The @MorpheusLander has failed in its free flight test, crashed, and is now burning. Photo moments ago: pic.twitter.com/tjRWMjvz
According to the project's home page at morpheuslander.jsc.nasa.gov: "Morpheus is a vertical test bed demonstrating new green propellant propulsion systems and autonomous landing and hazard detection technology. Designed, developed, manufactured and operated in-house by engineers at NASA's Johnson Space Center, the Morpheus Project represents not only a vehicle to advance technologies, but also an opportunity to try out "lean development" engineering practices."