NASA announced today that its second Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) test will launch next Tuesday, 2nd June, from the the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii.
The LDSD mission is part of the agency’s preparation for sending humankind to Mars. Mission commanders aim to test new technology designed to land a spacecraft with a large payload on the surface of the Red Planet.
NASA is investigating the use of atmospheric drag as a method to safely land the large spacecraft on Mars; the spacecraft will only need to access its limited supply of fuel during final landing procedures. According to NASA, three different supersonic vehicles are under development.