NASA Flying Saucer Launch Postponed To Late June; New Technology Intended For Trips To Mars


Due to unfavorable weather conditions, the NASA flying saucer called the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) will have to fly some other time.

According to The Register: “The LDSD was  to lift off between 3 and 13 June at the US Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kauai, Hawaii, to test technologies that may one day safely deposit larger payloads on the surface of Mars.”

“However, all six opportunities to get the vehicle off the ground under a massive helium balloon ended with the team twiddling their thumbs as the weather refused to play ball,” the article added.

Project manager Mark Adler lamented: “We needed the mid-level winds between 15,000 and 60,000 feet to take the balloon away from the island. While there were a few days that were very close, none of the days had the proper wind conditions.”

NASA explains: “The team had researched for more than two years wind conditions and locations around the world that would be conducive to the test. Kauai was selected because research showed that this area had the proper wind conditions to carry the balloon away from populated areas and where it needed to go over the ocean in order to launch the test vehicle. Recent weather conditions have been unexpected and have caused unacceptable wind conditions to launch the balloon.”

The article further explained:

“When the LDSD does eventually get off the ground, a mighty 963,000m orb will lift it to 36,500m, where a rocket motor will blast the vehicle to 55,000m and Mach 4. Then, a “balloon-like” pressure vessel – dubbed the Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (SIAD) – will inflate around the LDSD, to slow the test article to a speed where it becomes safe to deploy a supersonic parachute.”

The agency is looking at a late June launch for the NASA flying saucer.

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