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NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator project to test Saucer Shaped Vehicle flight Monday, June 2nd


Written by David Steitz
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project will fly a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle into near-space next week from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.

On Monday, June 2nd, a televised news conference about the test will be held at the PMRF at 8:00am Hawaii Standard Time (11:00am Pacific Daylight Time/2:00pm Eastern Daylight Time).

A saucer-shaped test vehicle holding equipment for landing large payloads on Mars is shown in the Missile Assembly Building at the US Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kaua'i, Hawaii. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A saucer-shaped test vehicle holding equipment for landing large payloads on Mars is shown in the Missile Assembly Building at the US Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kaua’i, Hawaii. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Briefing panelists include:

— U.S. Navy Capt. Bruce Hay, PMRF Commanding Officer

— Mike Gazarik, associate administrator of the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Washington

–Mark Adler, LDSD project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California

–Ian Clark, LDSD principal investigator at JPL

NASA has identified six potential dates for launch of the high-altitude balloon carrying the LDSD experiment: June 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th and 14th. Decisions to attempt launch of the LDSD test will be made the day before each launch opportunity date. NASA will issue launch advisories via the mission website, advisories and on Twitter at: and

On launch attempt days, journalists are invited to PMRF to watch the liftoff and flight of the balloon carrying the LDSD. June 3rd is the first launch attempt day, with a launch window extending from 8:00am to 9:30am HST (11 to 12:30 PDT/2 to 3:30 EDT).

NASA’s LDSD carries several onboard cameras. It is expected that video of selected portions, including the rocket-powered ascent, will be downlinked live and streamed live to NASA TV and online.

The public may watch the news conference on June 2nd, and the balloon launch and subsequent test on June 3rd, on NASA TV or on the Web at: and

Live commentary is expected to begin at 7:45am Hawaii Standard Time (10:45am PDT/1:45pm EDT). For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and updated scheduling information, visit:

After the balloon reaches an altitude of 120,000 feet, the rocket-powered test vehicle will be dropped. Seconds later, its motor will fire, carrying it to 180,000 feet and as fast as about Mach 3.8.

More information about the LDSD space technology demonstration mission is online at:

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate funds the LDSD mission, a cooperative effort led by JPL. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages LDSD within the Technology Demonstration Mission Program Office.

NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia, is coordinating support with the Pacific Missile Range Facility and providing the balloon systems for the LDSD test.

For more information about the Space Technology Mission Directorate, visit:




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