NASA LDSD - Second Test Flight
Building on last year’s LDSD test that successfully demonstrated an inflatable deceleration device known as SIAD, teams were hoping to repeat the SIAD demonstration and also achieve a successful descent under the largest parachute ever built for a landing on Mars. In last year’s flight, the parachute was torn up upon deployment, requiring a number of design changes to reinforce critical areas of the chute to ensure it would withstand the stresses occurring when being inserted into a supersonic airflow at a speed over Mach 2.
LDSD lifted off on Monday at 17:45 UTC, beginning a three-hour ascent under its balloon before arriving at its Float Altitude where the small craft was readied for the test. Being dropped from the balloon at 21:35 UTC, LDSD ignited its solid rocket motor that accelerated the craft to a speed of Mach 4, delivering the vehicle to an altitude of 55 Kilometers. The first drag device, the Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (SIAD) deployed as planned, seen in the low frame-rate video from the craft. Loud cheers turned into silent disappointment when the parachute was shredded when entering the supersonic airflow, also observed in the video and the data from the craft, not allowing LDSD to make a gentle descent towards the Pacific Ocean.