KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator lifted off from Kauai's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Monday morning and is now making its way to the top of the stratosphere. It took off at around 7:45 a.m. after a week of delays due to unfavorable weather conditions.
The 7,000-pound flying saucer-shaped aircraft will be taken to an altitude of 120,000 feet with a massive balloon filled with helium, a journey expected to take three hours. It will then be released at four times the speed of sound via a booster rocket to an altitude of 180,000 feet.
After that, a massive parachute will slow it down and eventually allow the aircraft to gently touch down in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.
The ultimate goal is to use this technology to bring payloads to the surface of Mars or other planets.
Kauai was chosen because there are no planes, boats or big cities nearby that could've impacted the launch.