Feeds

NASA scrubs FLYING SAUCER over Hawaii ballocket mission

Wrong kind of wind grounds Mars lander airbag test

Intelligent flash storage arrays

NASA has scrubbed the planned test flight of its rocket-powered flying saucer - the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) - due to unfavourable wind conditions.

The LDSD was due to lift off between 3 and 13 June at the US Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kauai, Hawaii, to test technologies that may one day safely deposit larger payloads on the surface of Mars.

The LDSD at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Pic: NASA/JPL

The LDSD flying saucer being prepped at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Pic: NASA/JPL

However, all six opportunities to get the vehicle off the ground under a massive helium balloon ended with the team twiddling their thumbs as the weather refused to play ball.

Project manager Mark Adler lamented: "We needed the mid-level winds between 15,000 and 60,000 feet to take the balloon away from the island. While there were a few days that were very close, none of the days had the proper wind conditions."

NASA explains: "The team had researched for more than two years wind conditions and locations around the world that would be conducive to the test. Kauai was selected because research showed that this area had the proper wind conditions to carry the balloon away from populated areas and where it needed to go over the ocean in order to launch the test vehicle. Recent weather conditions have been unexpected and have caused unacceptable wind conditions to launch the balloon."

The agency is now looking into the possibility of a launch later this month. When the LDSD does eventually get off the ground, a mighty 963,000m3 orb will lift it to 36,500m, where a rocket motor will blast the vehicle to 55,000m and Mach 4. Then, a "balloon-like" pressure vessel – dubbed the "Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (SIAD) – will inflate around the LDSD, "to slow the test article to a speed where it becomes safe to deploy a supersonic parachute". ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.