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martes, 20 de mayo de 2014

NASA : NASA June 2 Kauai Media Day for First Supersonic Saucer-Shaped Vehicle Test

NASA's Saucer-Shaped Craft Preps for Flight Test

A saucer-shaped test vehicle
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.
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NASA’s saucer-shaped experimental flight vehicle
In this picture, NASA’s saucer-shaped experimental flight vehicle is prepared for a Range Compatibility Test at the US Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kaua‘i, Hawaii.
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An engineer works on the Parachute Deployment Device of the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator test vehicle
An engineer works on the Parachute Deployment Device of the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator test vehicle in this image taken at the Missile Assembly Building at the US Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kaua‘i, Hawaii.
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NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project, a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle, has completed final assembly at the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.
This experimental flight test is designed to investigate breakthrough technologies that will benefit future Mars missions, including those involving human exploration. Three weeks of testing, simulations and rehearsals are planned before the first launch opportunity on the morning of June 3. LDSD was built at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and shipped to Kauai for final assembly and preparations.
"Our Supersonic Flight Dynamics Test Vehicle number 1 arrived at the Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility on April 17," said Mark Adler, project manager of the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator project from JPL. "Since then, we have been preparing it for flight. One of the last big assemblies occurred on April 30, when we mated the vehicle with its Star-48 booster rocket."
During the June experimental flight test, a balloon will carry the test vehicle from the Hawaii Navy facility to an altitude of about 120,000 feet. There, it will be dropped and its booster rocket will quickly kick in and carry it to 180,000 feet, accelerating to Mach 4. Once in the very rarified air high above the Pacific, the saucer will begin a series of automated tests of two breakthrough technologies.
In order to get larger payloads to Mars, and to pave the way for future human explorers, cutting-edge technologies like LDSD are critical. Among other applications, this new space technology will enable delivery of the supplies and materials needed for long-duration missions to the Red Planet.
The upper layers of Earth’s stratosphere are the most similar environment available to match the properties of the thin atmosphere of Mars. The Low Density Supersonic Decelerator mission developed this test method to ensure the best prospects for effective testing of the new and improved technologies here on Earth.
Anyone with Internet access will be able to watch live as video from the June test is relayed from the vehicle to the ground. The low-resolution images from the saucer are expected to show the vehicle dropping away from its high-altitude balloon mothership and then rocketing up to the very edge of the stratosphere. The test vehicle will then deploy an inflatable Kevlar tube around itself, called the Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (SIAD). After the SIAD inflates, the test vehicle will deploy a mammoth parachute called the Supersonic Disk Sail Parachute.
While people watching at home may be fascinated by how these two new technologies operate, the NASA flight team will actually be concentrating on a more fundamental question – "Will the test vehicle work as planned?"
"This first test is a true experimental flight test," said Ian Clark, the LDSD principal investigator from JPL. "Our goal is to get this first-of-its-kind test vehicle to operate correctly at very high speeds and very high altitudes. "
Although there is no guarantee that this first test will be successful, regardless of the outcome, the LDSD team expects to learn a great deal from the test. NASA has two more saucer-shaped test vehicles in the pipeline, with plans to test them from Hawaii in summer of 2015.
"We are pushing the envelope on what we know," said Clark. "We are accepting higher risk with these test flights than we would with a space mission, such as the Mars Science Laboratory. We will learn a great deal even if these tests, conducted here in Earth's atmosphere at relatively low cost, fail to meet some of the mission objectives."
As NASA plans increasingly ambitious robotic missions to Mars, laying the groundwork for even more complex human science expeditions to come, the spacecraft needed to land safely on the Red Planet's surface will become larger and heavier. This new technology will enable those important missions.
More information about LDSD is at:
NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington funds the LDSD mission, a cooperative effort led by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. JPL is home to the LDSD project manager, Mark Adler, and its principal investigator, Ian Clark. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, in Huntsville, Alabama, manages LDSD within the Technology Demonstration Mission Program Office. NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia is coordinating support with the Pacific Missile Range Facility and providing the balloon systems for the LDSD test.
NASA June 2 Kauai Media Day for First Supersonic Saucer-Shaped Vehicle Test
Reporters are invited to a media day Monday, June 2 at the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kauai, Hawaii, to learn about NASA's upcoming flight test of the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) experiment.
NASA's LDSD test is designed to investigate breakthrough technologies that will benefit landing future human and robotic Mars missions, as well as aid in safely returning large payloads to Earth. The NASA LDSD test over the Pacific Ocean will simulate the entry, descent and landing speeds a spacecraft would be exposed to when flying through the Martian atmosphere. During the test a large saucer-shaped disk carrying an inflatable inner tube-shaped decelerator and parachute system will be carried to an altitude of 120,000 feet by a giant balloon. After release from the balloon, rockets will lift the disk to 180,000 feet while reaching supersonic speeds. Traveling at 3.5 times the speed of sound, the saucer's decelerator will inflate, slowing the vehicle down, and then a parachute will deploy to carry it to the ocean's surface.
The media day will start with a mission overview briefing at 8 a.m. HST. Briefing participants will include:
-- Capt. Bruce Hay USN, commanding officer, Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii
-- Michael Gazarik, associate administrator of the Space Technology Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington
-- Mark Adler, LDSD project manager, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, California
-- Ian Clark, LDSD principal investigator, JPL
The briefing will be streamed live on the agency's website at:
Journalists unable to attend the briefing in person will be able to participate by teleconference. After the briefing, reporters at PMRF will have the opportunity for a tour of the launch area, the Range Operations Center, and a driving tour of the facility.
NASA has six potential dates for launch of the high altitude balloon carrying the LDSD experiment: June 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13. The launch window for each date extends from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
Journalists are invited to PMRF to watch the launch of the balloon carrying the LDSD on launch attempt days. After the balloon launch, reporters will be able to watch events as they unfold from monitors in the LDSD media center at PMRF. Reporters must arrive each balloon launch attempt day by no later than by 5:45 a.m. for escort onto the base.
NASA's LDSD carries several onboard cameras. It is expected that video of selected portions of the test, including the rocket-powered ascent, will be downlinked and streamed live to several NASA websites, including:
Decisions to attempt launch of the LDSD test will be made the day before each launch opportunity date. NASA will issue launch advisories via social media -- @NASA_Technology and @NASA -- the mission website and news media advisories.
Journalists who would like to cover LDSD-related events and tour of the facility at PMRF must register in advance by contacting Elena Mejia at JPL Media Relations at 818-354-5011 or Elena.Mejia@jpl.nasa.gov. Foreign journalists/news organizations must register by Thursday, May 22. U.S. media representatives must register by Wednesday, May 28. Reporters who are unsure whether they will attend are encouraged to register by the deadlines, even if they must later cancel. NASA will provide detailed instructions to journalists who register.For more information about NASA's LDSD, visit the mission page at:
NASA's LDSD program is part of the agency's Space Technology Mission Directorate, which is innovating, developing, testing and flying hardware for use in NASA's future missions. For more information about NASA's investment in space technology, visit:
Guillermo Gonzalo Sánchez Achutegui