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Epic south swell delays flying saucer launch in Hawaii

The Low Density Supersonic Decelerator © NASA



Environment News

Surf could hamper recovery of NASA's high-altitude balloon

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 3 June, 2015 - The strong south swell hitting Hawaii’s south shores has forced NASA to delay the launch of one of its high-altitude balloons. The flying saucer, officially known as the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), is part of NASA's tests for future explorations on Mars. 

The flying saucer has something called a Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator and a parachute capable of withstanding supersonic wind speeds. But the device can’t launch with the current swell conditions in Hawaii. NASA said the height of the waves is not suitable for a safe recovery

Surfline reports the south shores of the Hawaiian Islands are getting hit by the SSW swell with wave heights in the head high to 2-3' overhead range at standout spots of Oahu’s South Shore.

NASA tested the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator in June 2014 at the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range in Kauai, Hawaii. The LDSD hit a height of 120,000 feet, then its rocket pushed its payload another 60,000 feet.

However, the vehicle’s parachute got shredded when it re-entered the atmosphere. Consequently the test-saucer slammed into the Pacific. NASA said the LDSD fared well for such a heavy impact, but the height surf could make the recovery effort more sketchy than usual.

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