NASA's LDSD test is designed to investigate breakthrough technologies that will benefit landing future human and robotic Mars missions, as well as aid in safely returning large payloads to Earth. The NASA LDSD test over the Pacific Ocean will simulate the entry, descent and landing speeds a spacecraft would be exposed to when flying through the Martian atmosphere. During the test, a large saucer-shaped disk carrying an inflatable inner-tube-shaped decelerator and parachute system will be carried to an altitude of 120,000 feet (37 kilometers) by a giant balloon. After release from the balloon, rockets will lift the disk to 180,000 feet (55 kilometers) while reaching supersonic speeds. Traveling at 3.75 times the speed of sound, the saucer's decelerator will inflate, slowing the vehicle, and then a parachute will deploy to carry it to the ocean's surface.
Briefing participants will include:
-- Capt. Bruce Hay USN, commanding officer, Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii
-- Michael Gazarik, associate administrator of the Space Technology Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington
-- Mark Adler, LDSD project manager, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
-- Ian Clark, LDSD principal investigator, JPL
The briefing will be streamed live on the agency's website at:
It will also be carried live on:
NASA has six potential dates for launch of the high-altitude balloon carrying the LDSD experiment: June 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 14. The launch window for each date extends from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. HST.
NASA's LDSD carries several onboard cameras. It is expected that video of selected portions of the test, including the rocket-powered ascent, will be downlinked and streamed live to several NASA websites, including:
Decisions to attempt launch of the LDSD test will be made the day before each launch opportunity date. NASA will issue launch advisories via social media -- @NASA_Technology and @NASA - as well as the mission website and news media advisories.
For more information about NASA's LDSD, visit the mission page at:
NASA's LDSD program is part of the agency's Space Technology Mission Directorate, which is innovating, developing, testing and flying hardware for use in NASA's future missions. For more information about NASA's investment in space technology, visit:
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
David E. Steitz
Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii