NASA postpones Mars ‘flying saucer’ test on Earth
LOS ANGELES — NASA has postponed its plan to send a “flying saucer” into Earth’s atmosphere to test technology that could be used to land on Mars.
Spokeswoman Shannon Ridinger says weather conditions caused Wednesday’s launch of the saucer-shaped vehicle to be scrubbed. The next potential launch date is June 14.
For decades, NASA has depended on the same parachute design to slow spacecraft after they enter the Martian atmosphere. But it needs a larger and stronger parachute if it wants to land heavier objects and astronauts.
After being launched via balloon from Hawaii, the new vehicle will ignite its rocket engine and climb to 34 miles. It will slow itself down from supersonic speeds and unfurl a parachute for a water landing.
Engineers will analyze the data to determine if the test was successful.