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NASA to test Mars 'flying saucer' vehicle on Kauai

By Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 03:11 p.m. HST, Jun 24, 2014


LOS ANGELES >> A NASA flying saucer designed to test Mars lander technology could be launched on Earth this weekend.

The space agency says Saturday marks the opening of a launch window for the disc. If the weather cooperates, a balloon will carry it from a Navy range on Kauai. The disc will be released, then rocket high into the atmosphere and return using a giant parachute.

The same parachute design could slow landers and rovers streaking through the thin Martian atmosphere.

High winds at the range forced authorities to miss the original two-week launch window for the experiment earlier this month.

The new potential launch dates are Saturday through July 1 and July 3.






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HanabataDays wrote:
They're kinda playing with the meaning of "launch window" here, since there's no orbital insertion burn and hence no launch timing issues. The only thing lacking on the previous attempt was a suitable wind speed and direction at the proper altitude. That, obviously, varies on a day-to-day, even hour-to-hour basis so the notion of a "window" doesn't apply. My conclusion is the window exists only in their schedule and they're gonna try and cram it into whatever gap exists. Not sure that strikes me as good mission planning.
on June 24,2014 | 02:55PM
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