TEHRAN (FNA)- NASA today started the first ever test of an aerodynamic inflatable supersonic decelerator meant to provide landing on Mars.
"The apparatus was launched from the US Air Force launch facility at Kauai Island at 11:47 amPacific Coast time (10:47 pmMoscow time)," the Voice of Russia reported. The vehicle resembling a flying saucer in shape is equipped with jet engines, an inflatable airbrake and a parachute. It is due to gather the same speed and then to slow down and land as if a spaceship did that during a flight to Mars. A hot-air balloon is to take the "saucer" to an altitude of 36.5 km where the rocket engines are to turn on upon command. After that, the vehicle is to rise even higher, to an altitude of 55 km. The vehicle's speed is to exceed the sound velocity by 3.5 times, then the vehicle will go down using the inflatable decelerator and parachute. The vehicle is to splash down onto the surface of the Pacific Ocean where US Navy ships will be on the look-out for it. The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, reports that if the task is fulfilled it will be a great day. US scientists say that their aim is to create conditions similar to those when a spacecraft enters the Mars atmosphere. The airbrake is to be activated at a speed of 3.8 Maxx. The vehicle is equipped with a gigantic parachute 33.5 meters in diameter which will also be responsible for successful delivery of heavy cargoes to Mars in the future, including accommodation modules and manned spacecraft for crews' return to the Earth. Â Â Â Â