LDSD on the Launch Tower

LDSD Ready for Launch

- The LDSD test vehicle has landed in the Pacific Ocean off Hawaii.

- The LDSD test vehicle has been released by its balloon and its rocket has ignited, boosting the saucer-shaped craft above the stratosphere.

- A balloon carrying a test vehicle for NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project has lifted off.

A balloon carrying a test vehicle for NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project is scheduled to lift off no earlier than 10:30 a.m. PDT (1:30 p.m. EDT/ 7:30 a.m. HST) Monday, June 8, from the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kauai, Hawaii. NASA Television coverage will begin at 10 a.m. PDT (1 p.m. EDT / 7 a.m. HST) the day of the launch.

The saucer-shaped LDSD vehicle is designed to test entry and descent technologies for future missions Mars and other planets. This is the second of three planned test flights.

After liftoff, the balloon carrying the LDSD test vehicle will slowly float upward, taking about two-and-a-half hours to reach an altitude of 120,000 feet (37,000 meters). At that point, the balloon will release the vehicle, and a rocket engine on the vehicle will kick in, boosting the craft to an altitude of 180,000 feet (55,000 meters) -- the top of the stratosphere.

Upon reaching its maximum altitude, the test vehicle will be traveling at approximately Mach 4. The test vehicle will deploy the Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (SIAD) at Mach 3. The SIAD decelerates the vehicle to approximately Mach 2.4. The test vehicle will then deploy a mammoth parachute, the Supersonic Ringsail Parachute, which will further decelerate the vehicle, and carry it safely to a controlled water impact about 40 minutes after being dropped from the balloon.

This webpage will be updated as event milestones occur.

More information on LDSD is online at:

NASA's LDSD program is part of the agency's Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington, which innovates, develops, tests and flies hardware for NASA's future missions. For more information about NASA's investment in space technology, visit:

News Media Contact

DC Agle
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Kim Newton
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

Stefan Alford
Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii