Nasa postpones Mars flying saucer

2014-06-11 21:13
A saucer-shaped test vehicle holding equipment for landing large payloads on Mars in the Missile Assembly Building at the US Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kekaha on the island of Kaua‘i in Hawaii. (Nasa, AP)

A saucer-shaped test vehicle holding equipment for landing large payloads on Mars in the Missile Assembly Building at the US Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kekaha on the island of Kaua‘i in Hawaii. (Nasa, AP)

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Los Angeles - The US space agency has postponed its plan to send a "flying saucer" into Earth's atmosphere to test technology that could be used to land on Mars.

Nasa spokesperson Shannon Ridinger says weather conditions caused Wednesday's launch of the saucer-shaped vehicle to be delayed. The next potential launch date is 14 June.

Nasa has depended on the same parachute design to slow spacecraft after they enter the Martian atmosphere. But it needs a larger and stronger parachute if it wants to land heavier objects and astronauts.

After being launched via balloon from Hawaii, the new vehicle will ignite its rocket engine and climb to 54km. It will slow itself down from supersonic speeds and unfurl a parachute for a water landing.

- AP

Read more on:    nasa  |  mars  |  space
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