NASA postpones ‘Flying Saucer’ test on earth

A saucer-shaped test vehicle holding equipment for landing large payloads on Mars is shown in the Missile Assembly Building at the US Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kaua'i, Hawaii. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s test of a flying saucer has been pushed back yet again.

The Low Density Supersonic Decelerator will not launch Thursday as previously scheduled. Its next targeted launch date on Saturday, June 14, was also cancelled due to unfavorable weather conditions.

NASA will research range availability for the coming weeks and the costs associated with extending the test flight period.

For decades, NASA has depended on the same parachute design to slow spacecraft after they enter Mars’ atmosphere, but it needs a larger and stronger parachute if it wants to land heavier objects and astronauts.

Once launched via balloon from Kauai, the new vehicle will ignite its rocket engine and climb to 34 miles. It will slow itself down from supersonic speeds and unfurl a parachute for a water landing.

Engineers will analyze the data to determine if the test was successful.

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