NASA's "flying saucer" (aka Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator project, or LDSD for short) has earned recognition from Popular Science magazine as an innovation worthy of the publication's "Best of What's New" Award in the aerospace category.
The LDSD project successfully flew a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle into near-space in late June from the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. The goal of this experimental flight test, the first of three planned for the project, was to determine if the balloon-launched, rocket-powered, saucer-shaped design could reach the altitudes and airspeeds needed to test two new breakthrough technologies destined for future Mars missions.
More information on the award winners is online at:
NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate funds the LDSD mission, a cooperative effort led by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. NASA's Technology Demonstration Mission program manages the mission at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia, coordinated support with the Pacific Missile Range Facility, provided the core electrical systems for the test vehicle, and coordinated the balloon and recovery services for the LDSD test. The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.
For more information about the LDSD space technology demonstration mission: