A few weeks ago NASA announced that they are building their first flying saucer, with testing of the unusual spacecraft to begin in the coming days.
NASA's new spacecraft, which will deliver heavy loads to Mars, is ready for space flight.
The administration hopes to launch the prototype of their flying saucer as early as this week from the Naval base in Hawaii.
NASA had planned to launch the first flying saucer, named LDSD, on June 3rd or 5th but the meteorological conditions were not appropriate for testing of the prototype.
The flying saucer is part of NASA's program for sending people to Mars, which should happen in the next 20 years.
The program is working on and testing a parachute with a 100 ft (30.5 m) diameter and 2 inflatable devices called Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerators (SIAD), designed to slow the descent of heavy loads, such as manned capsules, through the atmosphere of the Red Planet.
For the tests, an enormous balloon will lift the flying saucer, which will contain the special parachute, to an altitude of 23 miles (37 km). At that height, the craft will be released and an on-board rocket will launch it to 34 miles (55 km) above the Earth.
Then, the aerodynamic decelerators will inflate and slow the descent of the flying saucer while the parachute inflates.
"During the course of the upcoming challenge over the Pacific Ocean the saucer, equipped with jet engines, inflatable decelerators and a parachute, will be able to accelerate, then stop and land, as a spacecraft would on a flight to Mars, " stated the US space agency.
According to Ian Clark from JPL, the goal is to reach altitudes and speeds that would simulate a space capsule's entering the atmosphere to land on Mars.
At least 2 more tests are planned for next year before the spacecraft is sent to Mars.See more