VIDEO: NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator Successfully Launched From Kauai

NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) was successfully launched on a helium balloon today at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii later the LDSD will be released at 120,000 feet and fire a Star 48B rocket motor to boost it to Mach 4.0 and 180,000 feet.

NASA IFO

This height and speed simulates a spacecraft flying through the Martian atmosphere and is where the air breaking systems will be tested on the LDSD vehicle.
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LDSD is fitted with what is called SIAD-R, a giant dounaut air bag that will increase the diameter of the vehicle and help slow it down to Mach 2.5 where a supersonic parachute will deploy ahead of a safe landing in the Pacific Ocean for recovery.

NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) to Test Next Week on Kauai

NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project will fly a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle into near-space next week from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.

NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD)

NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD)

Briefing panelists scheduled to be on hand include:

  • U.S. Navy Capt. Bruce Hay, PMRF Commanding Officer
  • Mike Gazarik, Associate Administrator of the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Washington
  • Mark Adler, LDSD Project Manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California
  • Ian Clark, LDSD principal investigator at JPL

NASA has identified six potential dates for launch of the high-altitude balloon carrying the LDSD experiment: June 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13. Decisions to attempt launch of the LDSD test will be made the day before each launch opportunity date.