RAW: NASA’s ‘flying saucer’ fails second test with ripped parachute.
TORONTO – In a press conference on Tuesday, NASA scientists said that the second test of the low-density supersonic decelerator (LDSD) —; which may one day help us colonize Mars —; was a success.
But it might seem hard to believe the test was a success since the parachute failed.
The LDSD is designed to work in conjunction with the Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (SIAD) which will allow us to take heavier payloads to Mars.
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“The successful part is that we successfully conducted a supersonic experiment,” LDSD principal investigator, Ian Clark said at the conference.
As for the unsuccessful part, “We had a parachute that didn’t survive inflation.”
This is the second test for the LDSD, and the second time the parachute failed.
However, the LDSD team said that this is what the testing is all about.
“We very much want the failure to occur here on Earth rather than Mars.”
It took approximately four聽hours for the balloon to lift the LDSD to 120,000 feet. Then the rockets ignited taking it a further 180,000聽feet.
Once released into the stratosphere, the SIAD —; which is a 20-foot inflatable balloon-like structure that inflates around the vehicle —; deployed at about Mach 3.
Fourteen seconds later, the parachute was released. It’s believed that it fully inflated, providing about 180,000 lbs of drag, but was unable to withstand the force.
The parachute is the largest supersonic chute ever deployed, double that of the one that took the Curiosity rover to Mars, and weighs just 200 lbs.