The Morpheus/ALHAT team successfully completed Free Flight 14 (FF14) at the KSC SLF on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, Bravo’s 12th and ALHAT’s 5th free flight — and the first ever night flight. Initial data indicated nominal performance of all vehicle systems. The ALHAT Hazard Detection System (HDS) performed well, but identified a safe site just 0.5 m outside the conservatively established limits around the center of the landing pad. ALHAT then navigated the vehicle in closed-loop mode through the entire approach, with the vehicle taking over navigation during the descent phase of the trajectory when ALHAT was already dead-reckoning. Had less conservative position error limits allowed ALHAT to continue to navigate to landing, the vehicle still would have landed safely on the pad.

The team overcame a few preflight issues, including a failed ignition due to a non-critical temperature limit exceedance, which was corrected for the successful second attempt.

Follow Morpheus on Twitter @MorpheusLander

Video from Morpheus Lander YouTube page:

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