A saucer-shaped test vehicle holding equipment for landing large payloads on Mars is shown in the Missile Assembly Building at the US Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kaua‘i, Hawaii. The vehicle, part of the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator project, will test an inflatable decelerator and a parachute at high altitudes and speeds over the Pacific Missile Range this June. A balloon will lift the vehicle to high altitudes, where a rocket will take it even higher to the top of the stratosphere at several times the speed of sound. This image was taken during a "hang-angle" measurement, in which engineers set the vehicle's rocket motor to the appropriate angle for the high-altitude test. The nozzle and the lower half of the Star-48 solid rocket motor are the dark objects seen in the middle of the image below the saucer. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
A saucer-shaped test vehicle holding equipment for landing large payloads on Mars is shown in the Missile Assembly Building at the US Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kaua‘i, Hawaii. The vehicle, part of the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator project, will test an inflatable decelerator and a parachute at high altitudes and speeds over the Pacific Missile Range this June. A balloon will lift the vehicle to high altitudes, where a rocket will take it even higher to the top of the stratosphere at several times the speed of sound. This image was taken during a "hang-angle" measurement, in which engineers set the vehicle's rocket motor to the appropriate angle for the high-altitude test. The nozzle and the lower half of the Star-48 solid rocket motor are the dark objects seen in the middle of the image below the saucer. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
A saucer-shaped test vehicle holding equipment for landing large payloads on Mars is shown in the Missile Assembly Building at the US Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kaua‘i, Hawaii. The vehicle, part of the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator project, will test an inflatable decelerator and a parachute at high altitudes and speeds over the Pacific Missile Range this June. A balloon will lift the vehicle to high altitudes, where a rocket will take it even higher to the top of the stratosphere at several times the speed of sound. This image was taken during a “hang-angle” measurement, in which engineers set the vehicle’s rocket motor to the appropriate angle for the high-altitude test. The nozzle and the lower half of the Star-48 solid rocket motor are the dark objects seen in the middle of the image below the saucer.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

KAUAI, HAWAII – NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project plans to fly its rocket-powered, saucer-shaped landing technology test vehicle into near-space from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kauai, Hawaii later this week.

NASA has identified five potential launch dates for the high-altitude balloon carrying the LDSD experiment: June 28, 29, 30, July 1 and 3. The launch window for Saturday, June 28 extends from 8:15–9:30 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time (2:15-3:30 p.m. EDT).

The test will be carried live via UStream and simulcast on NASA Television.

The vehicle originally was scheduled for its first test flight earlier in June, but unacceptable weather conditions prevented the launch.

Decisions to attempt launch of the LDSD test will be made the day before each launch opportunity date.

NASA will stream live video of the test via UStream at: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2

After the balloon reaches an altitude of 120,000 feet, the rocket-powered test vehicle will be dropped. Seconds later, its motor will fire, carrying it to 180,000 feet and as fast as about Mach 3.8. LDSD carries several onboard cameras.

More information about the LDSD space technology demonstration mission is online at: http://go.usa.gov/kzZQ

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate funds the LDSD mission, a cooperative effort led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages LDSD within the Technology Demonstration Mission Program Office. NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia, is coordinating support with the Pacific Missile Range Facility and providing the balloon systems for the LDSD test.

For more information about the Space Technology Mission Directorate, visit http://www.nasa.gov/spacetech

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