NASA on Friday released a video of its new “Flying Saucer” landing system’s recent near-space test flight, which demonstrates in amazing detail how the combination of systems will land the next generation Mars rover on the red planet.
Ian Clark of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory narrates the the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD)’s steps, which successfully launched what the space agency has dubbed the “Flying Saucer” high into the stratosphere and carried it gently back down in June.
One of the primary goals of the Flying Saucer is to use atmospheric drag to slow entry and save rocket fuel and engines for last-minute maneuvers and landing, according to the agency’s website.
“The heavier planetary landers of tomorrow, however, will require much larger drag devices than any now in use to slow them down — and those next-generation drag devices will need to be deployed at higher supersonic speeds to safely land vehicle, crew and cargo.”
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