NASA reveals test flight video of its supersonic flying saucer
NASA has unveiled first videos of its supersonic ‘flying saucer’ on its maiden test mission beyond Earth’s stratosphere to show everyone how awesome the test was, and to give us an insight into what flight test are all about. NASA Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project launched a rocket-powered saucer-shaped test vehicle on June 28 from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii, to an altitude of about 120,000 feet, where it fired rockets to propel itself further into space to an altitude of 180,000 feet at four times the speed of sound.
The goal of the experimental flight test was to see if a rocket-powered flying saucer launched by a helium balloon could reach altitudes and airspeeds that are necessary for other projects planned for the future of Mars mission. Engineers had planted many cameras on the vehicle which recorded the whole scene that has been released by NASA for the first time. Video show, as the flying saucer fell at supersonic speeds, the craft inflated its 20-foot-wide inner tube uniformly to increase drag and then deployed a parachute. The parachute however failed and the saucer had a wet landing in the Pacific Ocean, it had to be recovered by divers.
The parachute, easily twice the size of the one used to help land the Curiosity rover on Mars, experienced a problem and it tore off the moment it was deployed. Engineers say, the test flight has educated them with real-time problems and they can work out a way to perfect the parachute for future flights. By managing to get the flying saucer to an altitude of 180,000 feet above the earth at commendable speed, engineers behind the project have achieved the main object from the initial test.