NASA Successfully Flew First Flying Saucer

US Space agency, NASA, tested its first flying saucer  and the results are largely promising. The project, which aims to improve future Mars landing technology, involved launching a disc-shaped  vehicle high into the atmosphere through a balloon to test out a new parachute and an inflatable Kevlar ring designed to slow down the space craft as it approaches the red planet’s surface. The experiment was conducted in Hawaii.

According to a press release by NASA, the newest aircraft in development appears to be in proper work order. However, because the parachute failed to deploy fully, the aircraft will be re-tested in the weeks ahead. In the creation of the new aircraft, NASA hopes to deliver heavier payloads on Mars in future explorations. The current payload limit is one and a half tones.

Additionally, if humans were ever to go to the red planet, the mass capacity will need to surpass the 10 tonnes mark. The aircraft, which was called Low Density Supersonic Decelerator or LDSD, was left in the Pacific after its successful testing. NASA dispatched several teams to locate the demonstrator as well as to recover the data recorder. This way, engineers be able to get information on what happens during the experiment.

Video cameras were also set up on the ground and on LDSD to capture every second of its flight.  A helium balloon was launched from the US Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai. It took two hours for LDSD to rise off the ground (35km or 120,000ft) when it was released.

The aircraft’s second braking system did not come out properly during testing when the parachute did not unfurl properly. The team of NASA engineers hopes to return next year to conduct two more test flights.