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Thu, Jun-04-2015 16:15:37

NASA 'flying saucer' launch


Bad weather led the US space agency to postpone until Friday the first test of the largest parachute ever deployed, with the view of one day using it to land on Mars. If conditions improve, the test flight of the flying saucer, known as the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator, will be broadcast live on NASA's website beginning at 1:30 pm (1730 GMT) on Friday. The test will involve sending the flying saucer, an inner-tube shaped decelerator and parachute to an altitude of 120,000 feet (37 kilometers) over the Pacific Ocean with the help of a giant balloon. The balloon will release the spacecraft and rockets will lift the vehicle even higher, to 180,000 feet (55 kilometers), reaching supersonic speeds. "Traveling at three times the speed of sound, the saucer's decelerator will inflate, slowing the vehicle, and then a parachute will deploy at 2.35 times the speed of sound to carry it to the ocean's surface," NASA said. The US space agency has set a goal of sending humans to Mars by the 2030s.