NASA To Test LDSD Landing Craft Today

NASA To Test LDSD Landing Craft Today

This afternoon NASA will test their Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) in the waters off of Hawaii. This spacecraft, which resembles a flying saucer, may someday be used to land on Mars. In order to facilitate the test, NASA will attach the LDSD to a large hot air balloon which will carry it to an altitude of 120,000 feet. Once that altitude is reached, the balloon will be jettisoned and a rocket engine will push the landing craft up to 180,000 feet. It will then begin a free fall back to the surface.

The LDSD is equipped with a new system to slow the decent. First, and inner tube inflates will creates drag to slow the vehicle’s decent. Then a parachute is deployed which will further retard the craft before it plunges into the Pacific Ocean. If the test is successful, this technology may be used in future surface landings.

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avatar KALE: A geek who works in the IT Security field and lives in Dallas, TX. He is also a music geek who has played in several local bands. Previous to his IT career, Kale worked as a photojournalist. He brings technical advice and artistic counterpoint to the podcast.