The LOFTID team successfully retrieved the mission’s ejectable data module from the Pacific Ocean on Thursday morning. The data module resembles a large lemon and holds a backup copy of the data recorded during LOFTID’s demonstration. Another copy of the data is stored aboard the heat shield itself, which was already recovered by the team.
The recovery vessel will now make its way back to port. The LOFTID team will analyze the recorded data and inspect the heat shield to assess how the technology performed. Additional updates will be provided as available.
Team members successfully retrieved the LOFTID heat shield from the Pacific Ocean on Thursday morning. With the heat shield on board, the recovery vessel will next head to retrieve LOFTID’s ejectable data module, which contains a backup of the demonstration data that is also stored on the heat shield.
LOFTID has splashed down in the Pacific Ocean hundreds of miles off the coast of Hawaii. Once the aeroshell’s location is determined, the recovery boat will head towards the aeroshell for attempted retrieval. Following retrieval, the team will recover the ejectable data recorder.
Additional updates will be provided over the next few days, as available.
Teams confirmed the ejectable data recorder jettisoned and have received GPS data on its location. LOFTID’s parachutes are expected to have deployed, preparing LOFTID for splashdown in less than 10 minutes.
According to the team’s predictions, LOFTID should have slowed down to Mach 0.7 — from a maximum speed of Mach 29 — marking the end of the demonstration and data collection. As LOFTID approaches splashdown in approximately 16 minutes, the ejectable data module will jettison and the parachute will deploy.
The team was able to visually confirm full inflation of the re-entry vehicle. LOFTID is now estimated to be at about 78 miles in altitude, the point the LOFTID team considers the start of atmospheric re-entry.
At this time, the aeroshell should have reached a full inflation pressure of 19 psi. LOFTID is only sending limited real-time data during the demonstration. Full data, including confirmation of the final inflation pressure, will be confirmed after landing and recovery.
LOFTID is now coasting toward the atmosphere and re-entry is expected to start in approximately 25 minutes.
After orienting LOFTID to an acceptable separation angle, Centaur spun up and released the re-entry vehicle. Spinning at three rotations per minute keeps the LOFTID vehicle stable and pointed in the right throughout re-entry.