LDSD Flight Complete; NASA to Hold Briefing to Discuss Status of ‘Flying Saucer’ Test

NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project completed its second flight test when the saucer-shaped craft splashed down safely Monday in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Kauai. A post-flight media teleconference will be held at 1 p.m. EDT/7a.m., Tuesday, June 9 to review the test.

Briefing participants are:

  • Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • Mark Adler, LDSD project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California
  • Ian Clark, LDSD principal investigator at JPL

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at:

Two experimental decelerator technologies – a supersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerator and a supersonic parachute – were tested. The supersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerator deployed and inflated. The supersonic parachute also deployed; however, it did not perform as expected. Data were obtained on the performance of both innovative braking technologies, and the teams are beginning to study the data.

Author: Kim Newton

NASA's Low Density Supersonic Decelerator project will be flying a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle into near-space this June from the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kauai, Hawaii. The LDSD crosscutting demonstration mission will test breakthrough technologies that will enable large payloads to be safely landed on the surface of Mars, or other planetary bodies with atmospheres, including Earth. These new technologies will not only allow for landing of larger payloads on Mars, but also provide access to much more of the planet's surface by enabling landings at higher altitude sites. The mission continues to demonstrate how technology drives exploration on our journey to Mars, as we test these tools here on Earth right now.