NASA's new LDSD Mars lander technology completes second experimental test flight


#1

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#2

Is there any good video of the launch?


#3

Here’s NASA’s highlight reel:

NASA’s Flying Saucer Makes Second Voyage to the Edge of Space [Youtube/NASA]


#4

I watched the live-stream, such a bummer when the chute shredded.

Does anybody know if the saucer is the same one they flew last year, or do they build a whole new vehicle each time?


#5

We’re sending flying saucers to mars?

What a time to be alive.


#6

German public radio reported it as a failure. Chute didn’t open, this is all about going to Mars, end of story.

It was in a science program slot.


#7

So we’re on “the road” to full inflation?

But the tech is usable? Color me confused.


#8

Frustrating to read this because of the missing details. So, we know everything was OK up until the parachute fully deployed, then it tore up. Yet somehow the craft was able to splashdown in one piece in such good shape that recovery of stuff like hires video/sensor data is possible? How?


#9

The sensors were made of these and these


#10

[quote=“Angdis, post:8, topic:59324”]
somehow the craft was able to splashdown in one piece in such good shape that recovery of stuff like hires video/sensor data is possible? How?
[/quote]The vehicle has a black-box data recorder that separates from the vehicle before splashdown. It floats.

Here’s a page with photos of the vehicle from the first LDSD test last year (which also had a parachute failure) being hauled out of the water. Note how little apparent damage the vehicle has sustained:

First LDSD Test Flight


#11

[quote=“lava, post:4, topic:59324”]
Does anybody know if the saucer is the same one they flew last year, or do they build a whole new vehicle each time?
[/quote]Whole new vehicle each time.

They’ve built three vehicles, but they’ll need (at least) a fourth flight to certify the chute. If the chute works on the third flight, then maybe the vehicle’s frame could be re-used for the fourth flight, but the rocket engine is a disposable solid, and the tested components (SIAD, ballute, parachute) will of course be replaced (since they’re validating new-component performance, not reusability), so it’s probably cheaper to just build a whole brand-new vehicle.


#12

Best Hope/Crosby movie nobody’s ever heard of.


#13

Reading the description, it seems that the lead researcher is quite happy with the performance of the craft even though the 'chute failed at altitude. I know there were other technologies being tested in the flight, but why does it appear they feel the flight is a total success and validates the engineering approach? I would think that the chute in particular is marked as a failure.


#14

If I heard the comment correctly during the live-cast, they are using Go-Pros for some of the video they are shooting on the saucer.


#15

can’t look at it so black and white - last time the cute ripped while it was till unfurling, this time it appears it fully inflated before ripping. It failed, but they made progress.


#16

You may be misunderstanding the essential nature of flight test.

The purpose of flight test is (generally) to answer the question “will this new untested design work”?

Sometimes, the answer is, “Nope, you’re gonna need a better design.”

But that’s a useful answer. It’s particularly useful to get that answer now, in the test phase, rather than wait to get it when the chute’s attached to a multibillion-dollar probe plummeting toward the Martian surface.

Here are questions this test asked, and the answers produced:

Q: Will this test-vehicle design - the balloon-launched spinny rocket - actually work to provide a useful: simulation of Mars-like atmospheric dynamics?

A: Yes, it seems to work just fine.

Q: Will the new larger inflatable heat-shield extension (the SIAD) - work to provide useful deceleration in Mars-like conditions?

A: Yes, it seems to work reasonably well. (Exactly how well awaits analysis of blackbox data).

Q: Can the 'ballute" (the inflatable drogue balloon/parachute device) successfully extract the parachute at supersonic velocities?

A:Yes, it seems to work quite well

Q:Will the new improved parachute design work properly?

A: No. It works better than the old design, which shredded during deployment - the new design deployed and inflated properly, but then burst. Improvements are needed.

A successful flight test is one that answers all the questions you were asking, even if some of the answer are, “No, that won’t work.”

This was a successful flight test all around - all the questions were answered, and only the parachute came back as “Close, but not quite.” Everything else worked beautifully.


#17

I feel like a bad person for letting it distract me from the cool science robots; but “LDSD” is just too clearly a fringe denomination of psychoactive mormons for me to parse that headline unimpeded.


#18

I know! And then, “LDSD” is immediately followed by “Mars lander”, right?

Whoosh. Now, there’s an image. (-:


#19

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