— ABC News (@ABC) June 8, 2015
Monday’s (June 8) test flight for NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator project didn’t go as planned when the 100-foot-wide gigantic supersonic parachute ripped open in the atmosphere and fell back to Earth.
That might all sound like science fiction, but the LDSD project is a very real attempt by NASA to test out a “flying saucer”-like spacecraft in order to learn more about new space technology, as well as the possibility of helping land vehicles on Mars during manned missions in the future.
In the video below, you can see the saucer get lifted by a huge balloon 34 miles up into the atmosphere and then propel itself to Mach 4 (four times the speed of sound), reaching 180,000 feet only to have the parachute open and rip apart shortly thereafter.
Skip ahead to about the halfway mark to watch the action take place in space. You can see how well everything goes during the test, right up until when the parachute clearly malfunctions.
Regardless of the failure, NASA has considered the test a positive learning experience for the LDSD project.
Poor NASA…and everything looked like it was going so well!