New York – It’s during a live broadcast from its Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California that NASA showed off its Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator which is meant to replace the traditional technology of the early 70’s. The Spacecraft which weighed and measured 7,000 pounds and 15 feet wide respectively is lighter that anyone would think. This is because it has been built with the sole purpose of safely landing the astronauts on Mars during their mission.
It has earlier been subjected to a spin test so as to show its capability. By spinning an object, you keep it in one pointed direction hence equipping the saucer with a rocket which is meant to slow it down.
A launch of a prototype that has been finished recently is expected to take place in June which is close to an year after the first test flight and which was technically described to be a success even though the parachute is said to have failed to deploy upon landing. The launching will be the second test for the LDSD.
The new technology is expected to be of paramount importance because it will enable large payloads to be safely landed on the surface of Mars. The landing on other planetary bodies within the atmospheres will also be made possible including earth. There will also be more access into the red planet’s surface which will be a success but if only the landings at higher altitude sites are enabled.
This is one of the most important moves into the future of space travel as well as a key part of NASA’s LDSD research. Plans are however underway to have one of the rocket-powered saucer-shaped test vehicles into near-space flown from the Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, in June.
NASA has since confirmed the change of shape for the parachute because the strength capabilities have been altered but it’s for the better. A budget of $200 million has been allocated for testing the three LDSD’s.