NASA scrubs flying saucer launch

KAUAI, HAWAII (MEDIA GENERAL) – NASA has its eyes set on a Mars landing. Thursday’s test of a flying saucer-shaped vehicle was going to be one of the steps to getting humans on Mars.

But, weather has forced its cancellation.

NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator project was supposed to blast off from the Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii Thursday, June 4.

Rain and wind has put a stop to the launch for now. NASA will evaluate the next available launch opportunity Friday, June 5.

The mission will test breakthrough technology that will allow large payloads to be safely landed on the surface of Mars or other planets with atmospheres. The technology will also allow landings on higher-altitude sites.

During the test, the 15-foot-wide, 7,000 pound saucer is expected to undergo a “spin-table” test.

The live launch will allow the public to see the same video the project manager sees at NASA’s lab in Pasadena, California.

“This year’s test is centered 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 Mark Adler, LDSD project manager.

During last year’s flight, the vehicle worked well, but the parachute did not. Improvements have been made since then, and NASA is hopeful the parachute, the largest supersonic parachute ever flown, will do better this year.

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