The big test of any reusable rocket ship is not so much the first time in flies, but rather if it can fly a second and more times. According to a December 17, 2013 story in Florida Today, NASA’s Morpheus, a prototype of a lunar and planetary lander, fly free for a second time.
Morpheus flew for 81 second to a height of over 160 feet. Then it moved sideways 150 feet before landing on a boulder strewn simulation of a lunar or planetary surface.
“The liquid methane-fueled Morpheus lander, named for the Greek god of dreams, is testing “green” propulsion technologies and autonomous hazard detection and landing systems that are expected to be incorporated into test flights next year.”
Morpheus flew its first free flight on December 10 when it ascended 50 feet, moved sideways 23 feet, and then landed. A version of Morpheus may one day deliver payloads to the moon or Mars. A version could also be used as a space tug to move satellites.