Thursday, May 15, 2014

NASA to Test Supersonic Saucer Shaped Mars Lander

NASA has chosen several days in early June, the first being June 3, for balloon launched test flights of the saucer shaped Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator  or LDSD experimental vehicle that will carry technology that will allow supersonic atmospheric entry and low speed parachute landings on Mars.

From the article:
  • NASA's LDSD test is designed to investigate breakthrough technologies that will benefit landing future human and robotic Mars missions, as well as aid in safely returning large payloads to Earth
  • The NASA LDSD test over the Pacific Ocean will simulate the entry, descent and landing speeds a spacecraft would be exposed to when flying through the Martian atmosphere. During the test a large saucer-shaped disk carrying an inflatable inner tube-shaped decelerator and parachute system will be carried to an altitude of 120,000 feet by a giant balloon. After release from the balloon, rockets will lift the disk to 180,000 feet while reaching supersonic speeds. Traveling at 3.5 times the speed of sound, the saucer's decelerator will inflate, slowing the vehicle down, and then a parachute will deploy to carry it to the ocean's surface.
Here is a short film of NASA testing the parachute for the LDSD

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