Flying Saucer at NASA Tested for Mars Landing Technology

Published Date : Apr 01, 2015

The Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project at NASA is planning to launch a disc-shaped test vehicle into the near-space. The mission of the project is a crosscutting demonstration that will analyze the breakthrough technologies on the surface of Mars.

LDSD will enable heavy payloads that will be safely landed on Mars, or any other planetary body with atmospheric conditions similar to that of Earth, said NASA in a company statement. 

The ultimate test of the LDSD technology will be carried out at the JPL, Pasadena on Tuesday. This project will be executed in June. 

The spin table test had the vehicle turned to a speed of 30 rpm. This activity was performed to check the balance of the vehicle. 

During mid-April the vehicle is planned for its first flight to Kauai. However, at the time of the June experiment flight test, a balloon will cart the test vehicle from the naval base facility to an altitude of around 120,000 feet (36 km). 

Once it reaches there, the vehicle will be dropped over the Pacific and its booster rocket will help carry it to 55 km speeding at Mach 4. After reaching a considerable height above the Pacific, the disc will begin its series of automated tests consisting of two breakthrough technologies. 

The SIAD-R is an inflatable aerodynamic decelerator that increases the vehicle’s size and deploys it at Mach 3.8. 

This process will instantly decelerate the vehicle to Mach 2.5 where the parachute will deploy. 

The upper most layers of the Earth’s stratosphere is similar to the environment that matches the properties of Mars.