This video presents “LDSD: We Brake for Mars (Part 1).”
- NASA and JPL are testing a supersonic parachute under Mars-like conditions for future exploration.
NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project is a rocket-powered, flying saucer-shaped test vehicle for NASA’s Evolvable Mars campaign.
NASA’s LDSD project’s goals, led by JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), are as follows.
- To “enable a future mission to Mars or other planetary bodies that uses heavier spacecraft and lands them at locations that were previously not achievable.”
- “The heavier planetary landers of the future require much larger drag devices than any now in use to slow them down—and those next-generation drag devices will need to be deployed at higher supersonic speeds to safely land a vehicle, plus crew and cargo for potential human missions.
- LDSD was built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and has completed final assembly at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.”
- Please click here to read more about this experimental flight test to take place in June 2014.
- To “see if the cutting-edge, rocket-powered test vehicle operates as it was designed — in near-space at high Mach numbers.”
The two supersonic decelerator technologies to be tested are:
- the approximately 20-foot (6-meter) supersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerator (SIAD-R)
- which is an inflatable Kevlar tube around itself (shaped like a doughnut) that increases the vehicle’s size and, as a result, its drag;
- the Supersonic Disk Sail Parachute
- which is the largest supersonic parachute ever flown.
Testing for the LDSD project began in 2012 and will be conducted through 2015.
This video presents “LDSD: We Brake for Mars (Part 2).”
- In part 2, JPL engineer Mike Meacham explains how an inflatable decelerator will help larger spacecraft land on Mars.
- The device will be tested at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii in June, 2014.
The first launch of the LDSD flying saucer was scheduled for June 3, 2014.
However, this launch is postponed to other dates in June as explained by JPL in the following 2nd Update 5:30 PM EDT:
“Due to weather conditions, there will be no launch of the LDSD test vehicle Tuesday, June 3. Other potential launch dates include June 5, 7, 9, 11 and 14. Launch decision for Thursday, June 5 will be made on Wednesday, June 4. Check back with us for updates.”
The test will be carried live on NASA TV and streamed on the Web.
- NASA TV will carry live images and commentary of LDSD engineering test.
The test vehicle itself carries several onboard cameras.
- “The low-resolution images from the saucer are expected to show the vehicle dropping away from its high-altitude balloon mothership and then rocketing up to the very edge of the stratosphere.”
- It is expected that video of selected portions of the test, including the rocket-powered ascent, will be downlinked during the commentary.
Websites streaming live video of the test include:
For more information about LDSD, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/tdm/ldsd/.
There will be two LDSD flight tests next year. Please start spreading the news about NASA’s flying saucer tests so that the media are not inundated with numerous reports of alien UFO sightings!