NASA set to launch revolutionary 'flying saucer' test

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NASA Develops Flying Saucer to Roam Mars

Scientists at NASA are preparing for what they call an important stone in experimental flight tests Tuesday as they launch a flying saucer designed for future Mars exploration.

Using a large balloon, a 15-foot wide saucer will be launched from the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii and carried to a height of 120,000 feet before booster rockets fire and blast it up to a height of 180,000 feet.

At that point, NASA will begin monitoring the airbag and parachute designed to help slow the craft to a safer descent.

NASA announced back in April that their Jet Propulsion Laboratory did some spin tests on their Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator in preparation for a this flight.

"This year's test is centered on how our newly-designed supersonic parachute will perform. We think we have a great design ready for the challenge, but the proof is in the pudding and the pudding will be made live for everyone to see," Mark Adler said, project manager for LDSD at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Space enthusiasts will be able to tune into the broadcast live on Ustream starting at 1 p.m. EDT.


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NASA set to launch revolutionary 'flying saucer' test

A full mission dress rehearsal is held for the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project, Friday, May 29, 2015, at the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in Kauai, HI. The LDSD crosscutting technology demonstration mission will test breakthrough entry, descent and landing technologies that will enable large payloads to be landed safely on the surface of Mars. The second flight test of LDSD will be attempted on Tuesday, June 2, launching a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle into near-space.

(Photo by NASA/Bill Ingalls)

This artist's concept shows the test vehicle for NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), designed to test landing technologies for future Mars missions.

(Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Eric Queen stands in front of NASA’s Low Density Supersonic Decelerator. Queen is NASA Langley Research Center's lead for the project, which is led by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in collaboration with Langley, Wallops Flight Facility and Ames Research Center.

(Photo by NASA/Bill Ingalls)

n this photograph, a full mission dress rehearsal is held for the LDSD project, Friday, May 29, 2015, at the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in Kauai, HI.

(Photo by NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The moon sets during the full mission dress rehearsal for the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), Friday, May 29, 2015, U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in Kauai, HI. The LDSD crosscutting technology demonstration mission will test breakthrough entry, descent and landing technologies that will enable large payloads to be landed safely on the surface of Mars. 

(Photo by NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Engineers work during a full mission dress rehearsal for the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), Friday, May 29, 2015, U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in Kauai, HI. The LDSD crosscutting technology demonstration mission will test breakthrough entry, descent and landing technologies that will enable large payloads to be landed safely on the surface of Mars.

(Photo by NASA/Bill Ingalls)
 

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