Moments into its powered flight, the LDSD test vehicle captured this image of the balloon which carried it to high altitudes. The image was taken by one of the saucer-shaped test vehicle's high-resolution cameras. On June 28, 2014, a balloon lifted the 7,000-pound saucer-shaped vehicle to an altitude of 119,000 feet (36,270 meters), then a rocket boosted it even higher, where tests of Martian landing technologies began. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
Today NASA held a briefing on its recent Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project test. LDSD is a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle which may be used on future planetary missions.
The recent flight test was held last from the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii.
The LDSD demonstration mission tested breakthrough technologies that NASA hopes will enable large payloads to be safely landed on the surface of Mars.
Participants in today's briefing were:
-- Jeff Sheehy, senior technologist with the Space Technology Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington
-- Mark Adler, project manager, LDSD, JPL
-- Ian Clark, principal investigator, LDSD, JPL
LDSD: Supersonic Test Flight (HD)