Jet Propulsion Laboratory Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment Rocket Launch Delayed

Published : Tuesday, October 3, 2017 | 6:04 AM

The Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) payload in the Testing and Evaluation lab at NASA Wallops. Credits: NASA/Berit Bland

NASA’s rocket launch to test Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) has been delayed and “will occur no earlier than Oct. 4, to allow for the completion of software testing of an instrumentation recording unit,” authorities at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia said late Monday.

Launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, the mission will evaluate the performance of the ASPIRE payload, which is designed to test parachute systems in a low-density, supersonic environment, the statement said.

The payload is expected to reach an altitude of 32 miles approximately 2 minutes into the flight and then deploy. ASPIRE would then splash-down in the Atlantic Ocean 40 miles from Wallops Island. The payload would be recovered and returned to Wallops for data retrieval and inspection, the statement said.

In an abstract submitted to the American Physical Society. NASA personnel
said the ASPIRE project is a risk-reduction activity for a future mission, Mars2020, They said ASPIRE would investigate the supersonic deployment, inflation and aerodynamics of a full-scale disk-gap-band (DGB) parachute in the wake of a slender body at high altitudes over Earth.

In the mission overview, NASA personnel said the Mars 2020 mission, addresses high-priority science goals for Mars exploration, including key questions about the potential for life on Mars.

NASA personnel said the mission would not only seek signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past but also search for signs of past microbial life itself.

Mars2020 would also investigate the possibility of past life on Mars, and the potential for preservation of biosignatures within accessible geological materials, NASA personnel said.

The suborbital sounding rocket’s flight would be conducted through NASA’s Space Mission Directorate.

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