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Mars 2020 Mission Performs First Supersonic Parachute Test

Published on November 23, 2017
NASA has completed the first test of its Mars 2020 mission's parachute-testing series, the Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE)


  • The Mars rover mission will be launched in 2020 to find the signs of ancient Martian life by investigating evidence in place and by catching drilled samples of Martian rocks for potential future return to Earth
  • The mission will rely on a special parachute to slow the spacecraft down as it enters the Martian atmosphere at over 5.4 km per second. 
  • The test began with a 58-foot-tall Black Brant IX sounding rocket launch and upper-atmosphere flight last month from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia. 
  • The payload is a bullet-nosed, cylindrical structure holding a supersonic parachute, the parachute's deployment mechanism, and the test's high-definition instrumentation -- including cameras -- to record data.
  • The Mars 2020 team will use data from these tests to finalize the design for its mission.


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