This NASA artist's concept obtained June 2, 2015 shows the test vehicle for NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator, designed to test landing technologies for future Mars missions (NASA/JPL)

NASA Flying Saucer Launch Postponed to Tomorrow

NASAFlying Saucer (Image Credit: NASA/JPL)

NASAFlying Saucer (Image Credit: NASA/JPL)

NASA has postponed the launch of its flying saucer mission aimed at testing the parachute to bring down supersonic spacraft on Mars to land on surface from today, Wednesday June 3, 2015 to tomorrow at 1.30 pm EBT, said the US space agency in an update.

The flying saucer, not to be confused with the flying unidentified objects (UFO), is named the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator, was originally scheduled to be launched around 1.30 pm (1730 GMT).

The US NASA has been working on this project for over a decade and its earlier Viking mission had put
two landers on Mars in 1976. Now that NASA is planning manned mission to Mars in the late 2020s and
early 2030s, the test today gains more importance.

The new generation parachute, known as the Supersonic Ringsail Parachute, has been designed to allow heavier spacecraft that is expected to carry not only humans but also huge supply of food and materials for longer stay on Mars.

“Traveling at three times the speed of sound, the saucer’s decelerator will inflate, slowing the vehicle, and then a parachute will deploy at 2.35 times the speed of sound to carry it to the ocean’s surface,” NASA said.

Last time, a model Supersonic Disksail was tested in the 2014 but it failed to inflate and exploded in pieces due to high speed and altitude. Today’s flight is the second and after its success, another parachute test flight will be undertaken next year.


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