back to article NASA pulls FLYING SAUCER out of Pacific ocean

NASA has successfully test-flown its “flying saucer” – the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) – after weather conditions permitted the trial on Saturday. The LDSD is a concept lander design for future flights to Mars. The craft works by inflating a “Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator” (SIAD), which NASA …


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    1. cray74

      Re: embiggening

      No, it won't get you out of some rocket fuel for larger payloads. The Martian atmosphere is too thin for parachutes to slow sizable payloads. For example, Curiosity's parachutes (biggest ever used off Earth) were only able to slow it to 250mph. But it will save some weight.

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Not quite the "worked as expected"...

    Many news sources are reporting that the parachute failed to deploy properly. But the engineers said it was a good test so they could see what went wrong.

  3. Kharkov

    Er, El Reg?

    The test was succesful, yes, demonstrating the desired deceleration, but after the test, the LDSD was supposed to deploy a parachute so that the LDSD could be recovered but the chute got tangled and the LDSD landed a bit faster than intended.

    All that said, it's a very good sign. If we're going to put big stuff down on Mars, we'll need LDSD technology.

    Anyone want to start a bet (or poll)? Will we see an LDSD used on Mars, launched by a FH, an Atlas V, or SLS?

    My money's on FH...

    1. Martin Budden Bronze badge
  4. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Have they found the lander yet?

    Be nice to see the on-vehicle imagery.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Have they found the lander yet?

      FYI, the "high resolution video recorders" onboard were 4 GoPro cameras.

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    The *core* mission was the saucer. The supersonic parachute was a bonus.

    Mars is a very tough environment to land on due to the nasty mix of enough gravity to make entry speed high but not enough atmosphere to do much about it unless you can make the frontal area of a vehicle really big, which this can.

    Thumbs up for this work and showing some parts of NASA can produce remarkable work.

  6. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    The important question is, what happened to the Playmonaut on board? All space missions do carry a Playmonaut right?

    Well apart from SpaceX who send cheese.

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Well I've heard

      it's Lego all the way at NASA.

  7. CDM

    "a prefectly cromulent word"

    Hire me as an editor :-) ; "enlarged" is not only in the Oxford, it would have also saved you 2 character spaces, compared with Simpson's neologism "embiggening". {Cue someone spinning an excuse about seeing if readers were paying attention!}

    1. Martin Budden Bronze badge

      Re: "a prefectly cromulent word"

      El Reg could have used the less large enlarging but instead opted for the embiggened embiggening. Personally, I embiggen my enlargments whenever I'm allowed.

      1. Monty Burns

        Re: "a prefectly cromulent word"

        Embiggen? First time I heard it used was on the Simpsons....

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