NASA all set for flight test for supersonic saucer-shaped vehicle

NASA is all set for a test flight for its first supersonic saucer-shaped vehicle that could help astronauts explore the surface of Mars.

Zee Media Bureau

Washington: NASA is all set for a test flight for its first supersonic saucer-shaped vehicle that could
help astronauts explore the surface of Mars.

The US space agency has fully assembled its Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), as it gears up for a flight test early June.

NASA announced the flight test will take place at the US Navy`s Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in Kauai, Hawaii June 3.
This experimental flight test is designed to investigate breakthrough technologies that will benefit future Mars missions, including those involving human exploration.

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 experimental flight test, a giant balloon will carry the test vehicle from the Hawaii Navy facility to an altitude of about 120,000 feet. There, it will be dropped and its booster rocket will quickly kick in and carry it to 180,000 feet, accelerating to Mach 4.
Travelling 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.

The space agency plans to conduct two more LDSD test flights from Hawaii in the summer of 2015, media reports said.

LDSD was built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and shipped to Kauai for final assembly and preparations.

With Agency Inputs

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