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NASA to test inflatable 'flying saucer'


Posted on Saturday, 24 May, 2014 | Comment icon 26 comments


Engineers prepare the LDSD for testing. Image Credit: NASA / JPL

The space agency is preparing to test a new vehicle that is designed to help astronauts explore Mars.

The Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), which resembles the classic 'flying saucer' shape, is now fully assembled at the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii.

The vehicle's purpose is to assist in the process of bringing extremely heavy payloads safely down to the surface of Mars from orbit using a 100ft-wide parachute and two devices known as Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerators.

The system is designed to be the successor to the landing mechanism used by the Curiosity rover which was the heaviest object ever to land on Mars. The LDSD system will enable much larger and heavier objects, such as a human habitation module for a future manned mission, to be landed safely on the surface.

"This first test is a true experimental flight test," said NASA's Ian Clark. "Our goal is to get this first-of-its-kind test vehicle to operate correctly at very high speeds and very high altitudes."

   
Source: Live Science | Comments (26)

Tags: LDSD, NASA, Mars


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #17 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 3 June, 2014, 11:37
Comment icon #18 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 3 June, 2014, 21:31
NASA readies for the experimental flight of a test vehicle designed for landing larger payloads on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL
Comment icon #19 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 5 June, 2014, 11:31
Comment icon #20 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 5 June, 2014, 16:47
NASA held a news conference from the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii on June 2 about the upcoming test of the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project. During the test, a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle will be flown into near-space. LDSD could lead to inflatable spacecraft systems capable of safely landing heavier and larger payloads than ever before on planets with atmospheres. June 3 is the first of six potential launch dates. NASA will issue launch advisories via the mission website, media advisories and on Twitter at: https://twitt... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 9 June, 2014, 12:05
Comment icon #22 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 11 June, 2014, 11:18
Comment icon #23 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 11 June, 2014, 22:37
Comment icon #24 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 12 June, 2014, 22:05
Comment icon #25 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 24 June, 2014, 22:38
Comment icon #26 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 28 June, 2014, 12:25


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