NASA hopes to launch

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

LOS ANGELES (AP) NASA hopes to try again to launch a “fly­ing saucer” into Earth’s at­mos­phere to test Mars mis­sion tech­nol­ogy af­ter los­ing the chance be­cause of bad weather, project man­agers said Thurs­day.

The space agency is work­ing with the U.S. Navy on the Hawai­ian is­land of Kauai to see if it can get the ex­per­i­men­tal flight off the ground in late June.

Dur­ing the cur­rent two-week launch win­dow, the team came “tan­ta­liz­ing close,” but winds spoiled ev­ery op­por­tu­nity, said project man­ager Mark Adler of the NASA Jet Propul­sion Lab­o­ra­tory.

Winds must be calm for a he­lium bal­loon to carry the disc-shaped ve­hi­cle over the Pa­cific so it doesn’t stray into no-fly zones.

NASA has in­vested $150 mil­lion in the project so far, and ex­tend­ing the launch win­dow would come with some cost. If the flight doesn’t hap­pen this sum­mer, it would be post­poned un­til next year.

The mis­sion is de­signed to test a new su­per­sonic ve­hi­cle and gi­ant para­chute in Earth’s strato­sphere where con­di­tions are sim­i­lar to the red planet.

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