NASA's hovering lander looked beautiful at yesterday's test-launch

NASA's Morpheus Lander hovers above the launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center at a free-flight test launch held yesterday afternoon. Hit the jump to see the photo (and video of the launch) in its full glory.

NASA's hovering lander looked beautiful at yesterday's test-launch

According the NASA, the vehicle carried out its pre-planned flight trajectory flawlessly, executing a 15-meter ascent, hovering, and executing a 7.5-meter lateral translation before landing within six-inches of its intended target. The 54-second test – which you can watch in the video below – is the first in a series of flights that NASA says "will increase in altitude, distance & speed over the next few months."

Morpheus may not have the hops of SpaceX's Grasshopper (at least not yet), but it's still plenty impressive; vertical takeoff/vertical landing vehicles could save private and government space projects boatloads of cash by making rockets reusable, and they're damn photogenic, to boot. That's what I call a win-win.

[@MorpheusLander]