Press Release

Media Invited to Take a Spin With NASA Cutting-edge Mars Landing Technology

By SpaceRef Editor
March 30, 2015
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NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project will be flying a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle into near-space from the Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, in June. 

Media are invited to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, on Tuesday, March 31, for a brief mission overview and visit to clean rooms where this near-space experimental test vehicle is being prepared for shipment to Hawaii. In one of the clean rooms, one of the 15-foot-wide, 7,000-pound vehicles is expected to be undergoing a “spin-table” test. Media attending will hear short presentations from James Reuther, Deputy Associate Administrator of Programs for the Space Technology Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington, and Jeffrey Weiss, deputy project manager for the LDSD project, JPL. To coincide with the optimal time for viewing the test a new arrival time for this media day has been designated. The presentations and clean room tour will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. PDT at JPL, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, California, off the Berkshire/Oak Grove off-ramp of the 210 Freeway.  Media should arrive between 10:00 and 10:30 a.m. to check in.

Media who cannot attend the event, social media and the public are invited to tune in to an hour-long live, interactive video broadcast from the gallery above the clean room where the vehicle is undergoing its spin test. The event will be streamed live on on March 31, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PDT. JPL’s Gay Hill will host the program while LDSD team members will answer questions submitted to the Ustream chat box or via Twitter using the #AskNASA hashtag.

The LDSD crosscutting demonstration mission will test breakthrough technologies that will enable large payloads to be safely landed on the surface of Mars, or other planetary bodies with atmospheres, including Earth. The technologies will not only enable landing of larger payloads on Mars, but also allow access to much more of the planet’s surface by enabling landings at higher-altitude sites.

Interview opportunities with members of the LDSD team will be offered in the clean rooms where the saucer-shaped vehicles currently reside.

Journalists who would like to attend the event must arrange access in advance by emailing JPL Media Relations’ Elena Mejia at by 5 p.m. PDT Monday, March 30. Detailed instructions will be given to media who RSVP about the options for entering the clean room or viewing from a gallery. Media in the clean room must wear flat, closed-toe shoes and long pants and will be required to don special outerwear and have any recording equipment cleaned.

More information about the LDSD space technology demonstration mission is online at:

The LDSD mission is part of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, which is innovating, developing, testing and flying hardware for use in future missions. NASA’s technology investments provide cutting-edge solutions for our nation’s future. For more information about the directorate, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.