Winds delay test of Mars reentry technology
Posted: Fri, Jun 13, 2014, 8:07 AM ET (1207 GMT)
A persistent, unseasonal pattern of high winds has delayed a planned test of a Mars reentry technology demonstrator until at least late this month, project officials said Thursday. NASA had hoped to fly the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) experiment from the US Navy's Pacific Missile Range in Kauai, Hawaii, on one of several dates in the first half of June. In the test, a balloon carries the LDSD to an altitude of more than 36 kilometers, at which point a rocket motor fires to carry the payload to 55 kilometers altitude and Mach 4. However, mid-level wind patters above the test site have not cooperated, and officials said the winds there are different than in past years, when they selected this date for the test. NASA hopes to try to fly the LDSD in late June, depending on weather conditions and the availability of the launch range. LDSD is designed to test an inflatable structure designed to increase drag, and a supersonic parachute, at velocities and atmosphere pressures similar to those of a spacecraft entering the Martian atmosphere.
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