NASA postpones ‘flying saucer’ parachute test

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High waves pressured NASA to postpone till Thursday the primary test of the biggest parachute ever deployed, throughout a flying saucer launch that may check out new applied sciences for touchdown on Mars. If circumstances enhance, the test flight of the flying saucer, referred to as the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator, can be broadcast reside on NASA’s web site starting at 1:30 pm (1730 GMT) on Thursday.

“The ocean wave height continues to be an issue for the crew that would recover the vehicle and its data after splashdown,” NASA mentioned after the postponement of Wednesday’s deliberate try. A bid on Tuesday was additionally canceled due to ocean circumstances.

The launch window for the test extends till June 12. Since the ambiance on Mars is so skinny, any parachute that helps a heavy, fast-moving spacecraft contact down must be further sturdy.

The US area company found out how to do that a long time in the past, starting with the Viking mission that put two landers on Mars in 1976.

But with the purpose of sending people to Mars within the 2030s, the company is now testing a extra superior, new technology of parachute expertise, referred to as the Supersonic Ringsail Parachute, that would enable even heavier spacecraft — the type which will have people and months of meals and provides on board — to land softly.

“We want to see if the chute can successfully deploy and decelerate the test vehicle while it is in supersonic flight,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory mentioned in an announcement.

The test automobile weighs 6,808 kilos (3,088 kilograms), or about twice the load of the form of robotic rover spacecraft NASA is at the moment able to touchdown safely on Mars.

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