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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. --   Inside space shuttle Discovery's payload bay can be seen the red rain gutters, which  prevent leaks into the bay from rain while the shuttle is on the pad. The STS-124 mission payload, the Japanese Experiment Module - Pressurized Module and the Japanese Remote Manipulator System (below the gutters), is being transferred from the Payload Changeout Room into the payload bay.  Launch of Discovery is targeted for May 31.  Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann KSC-08pd1144

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Engineers and technicians prepare NASA's Project Morpheus prototype lander for a free flight test at a new launch site at the north end of the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The 96-second test began at 4:21 p.m. EDT with the Morpheus lander launching from the ground over the flame trench and ascending more than 800 feet at a peak speed of 36 mph. The vehicle with its recently installed autonomous landing and hazard avoidance technology, or ALHAT, sensors surveyed the hazard field to determine safe landing sites. Morpheus then flew forward and downward covering 1,300 feet while performing a 78-foot divert to simulate a hazard avoidance maneuver. The lander descended and landed on a dedicated pad inside the ALHAT field. Project Morpheus tests NASA’s ALHAT, and an engine that runs on liquid oxygen and methane, or green propellants, into a fully-operational lander that could deliver cargo to other planetary surfaces.    The landing facility provides the lander with the kind of field necessary for realistic testing, complete with rocks, craters and hazards to avoid. Morpheus’ ALHAT payload allows it to navigate to clear landing sites amidst rocks, craters and other hazards during its descent. Project Morpheus is being managed under the Advanced Exploration Systems, or AES, Division in NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. The efforts in AES pioneer new approaches for rapidly developing prototype systems, demonstrating key capabilities and validating operational concepts for future human missions beyond Earth orbit. For more information on Project Morpheus, visit http://morpheuslander.jsc.nasa.gov/.  Photo credit: NASA/Frankie Martin KSC-2014-1927

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Engineers and technicians prepare NASA's Project Morpheus prototype lander for a free flight test at a new launch site at the north end of the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The 96-second test began at 4:21 p.m. EDT with the Morpheus lander launching from the ground over the flame trench and ascending more than 800 feet at a peak speed of 36 mph. The vehicle with its recently installed autonomous landing and hazard avoidance technology, or ALHAT, sensors surveyed the hazard field to determine safe landing sites. Morpheus then flew forward and downward covering 1,300 feet while performing a 78-foot divert to simulate a hazard avoidance maneuver. The lander descended and landed on a dedicated pad inside the ALHAT field. Project Morpheus tests NASA’s ALHAT, and an engine that runs on liquid oxygen and methane, or green propellants, into a fully-operational lander that could deliver cargo to other planetary surfaces. The landing facility provides the lander with the kind of field necessary for realistic testing, complete with rocks, craters and hazards to avoid. Morpheus’ ALHAT payload allows it to navigate to clear landing sites amidst rocks, craters and other hazards during its descent. Project Morpheus is being managed under the Advanced Exploration Systems, or AES, Division in NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. The efforts in AES pioneer new approaches for rapidly developing prototype systems, demonstrating key capabilities and validating operational concepts for future human missions beyond Earth orbit. For more information on Project Morpheus, visit http://morpheuslander.jsc.nasa.gov/. Photo credit: NASA/Frankie Martin KSC-2014-1927

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Inside space shuttle Discovery's payload bay can be seen the red rain gutters, which prevent leaks into the bay from rain while the shuttle is on the pad. The STS-124 mission payload, the Japanese Experiment Module - Pressurized Module and the Japanese Remote Manipulator System (below the gutters), is being transferred from the Payload Changeout Room into the payload bay. Launch of Discovery is targeted for May 31. Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann KSC-08pd1144

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Inside space shuttle Discovery's payload bay can be seen the red rain gutters, which prevent leaks into the bay from rain while the shuttle is on the pad. The STS-124 mission payload, the Japanese Experiment Module - Pressurized Module and the Japanese Remote Manipulator System (below the gutters), is being transferred from the Payload Changeout Room into the payload bay. Launch of Discovery is targeted for May 31. Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann

The Space Shuttle program was the United States government's manned launch vehicle program from 1981 to 2011, administered by NASA and officially beginning in 1972. The Space Shuttle system—composed of an orbiter launched with two reusable solid rocket boosters and a disposable external fuel tank— carried up to eight astronauts and up to 50,000 lb (23,000 kg) of payload into low Earth orbit (LEO). When its mission was complete, the orbiter would re-enter the Earth's atmosphere and lands as a glider. Although the concept had been explored since the late 1960s, the program formally commenced in 1972 and was the focus of NASA's manned operations after the final Apollo and Skylab flights in the mid-1970s. It started with the launch of the first shuttle Columbia on April 12, 1981, on STS-1. and finished with its last mission, STS-135 flown by Atlantis, in July 2011.

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05/05/2008
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Cape Canaveral, FL
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Source

NASA
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Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

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