On Thursday, NASA revealed that it in June it had tested a new lander design for future interplanetary missions.
Here it is high above the Earth, firing rockets:
This is from the space agency’s statement:
NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project successfully flew a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle into near-space in late June from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. The goal of this experimental flight test, the first of three planned for the project, was to determine if the balloon-launched, rocket-powered, saucer-shaped, design could reach the altitudes and airspeeds needed to test two new breakthrough technologies destined for future Mars missions.
NASA went on to explain that the mission included two cutting-edge technologies:
- The “Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (SIAD),” which is “a large, doughnut-shaped air brake that deployed during the flight, helping slow the vehicle from 3.8 to 2 times the speed of sound”
- The “Supersonic Disksail Parachute,” which is the largest supersonic parachute ever flown. It has more than double the area of the parachute which was used for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission that carried the Curiosity rover to the surface of Mars.”
Here the SIAD in action. It’s essentially a big air brake intended to slow down a landing spacecraft:
And here’s the parachute being deployed:
Watch the entire YouTube video below:
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