The two main technologies being developed as part of NASA’S Low Density Supersonic Decelerator Project (LDSD) are supersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerators (SIAD) and a new supersonic ring sail parachute.
Read: NASA’s Flying Saucer
In order to gain confidence that the devices will operate the way they need to en route to Mars, the systems have to be tested at the scale and in the conditions it will be used. To do that, NASA has built a full-scale replica of a Mars entry vehicle to which the technologies are attached. (Above image).
An engineer works on the deployment device for the supersonic ring sail parachute.
Rocket sled testing is performed to replicate the forces the spacecraft will experience prior to landing on Mars. The test uses welded steel on a standard gage railroad track and surplus solid rocket motors.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense