NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is all set to test its low-density supersonic decelerator (LDSD) – a flying saucer designed to check out landing technologies for future Mars missions – over Hawaii.

If the weather condition is all set as per the plan, the LDSD test vehicle will be carried aloft through a big weather balloon at 10:00P.M. (IST) on 02 June 2015 (Tuesday)- from the US Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.

Around two hours plus, the balloon will carry the test vehicle to an altitude of 120 Thousand feet.

nasa flying saucer
NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), designed to test landing technologies for future Mars missions.

“The all observing and tracking cameras of NASA has employed for the test are expected to keep eyes on the balloon and test vehicle in their sights for about 30 minutes after launch”, said by the US space agency in a statement.

The vehicle carried balloon after reaching a height of 180 thousand feet, a doughnut-shaped airbag will inflate around the saucer for its descent to earth.

The saucer is expected to splash down in the Pacific Ocean about 135 minutes or two hours and 15 minutes after the launching time period.

“The test is centred 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,” said by Mark Adler,  who is a project manager for LDSD at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“In order to support a human for the mission to the Red Planet, NASA needs to technologies capable of landing in range of 20 -30 metric tonnes on the Martian surface. The LDSD supports payloads of in range 2-3 tonnes, doubling the current capabilities.” as per the reports comes.

During the test flight, the viewers will see live, low-resolution images from high over the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of Kauai, Hawaii.

Four cameras aboard the test vehicle will provide the LDSD mission team with different likelihoods on the test.

The LDSD mission will test breakthrough technologies that will enable large payloads to be safely landed on the surface of Mars, and also will allow access to more of the planet’s surface by enabling landings at higher-altitude sites.



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