NASA to launch parachute test off Wallops Island

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NASA will test a parachute for possible future missions to Mars from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Tuesday, March 27.

WALLOPS ISLAND (VA): NASA says on Tuesday March 27th around 6:15 a.m., they will launch a 58-foot-tall Terrier-Black Brant IX suborbital sounding rocket from Wallops Island in Virginia.

Live coverage of the test is scheduled to begin at 6:15 a.m. EDT on the Wallops Ustream site.

The launch window is 6:45 to10:15 a.m. Backup launch days are March 28 to April 10.

The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will open at 6 a.m. on launch day for viewing the flight. The rocket launch is expected to be only seen from the Wallops area.

The rocket will carry the Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. The payload carrying the test parachute is expected to reach an altitude of 32 miles approximately two minutes into the flight. The payload will splash-down in the Atlantic Ocean 40 miles from Wallops Island and will be recovered and returned to Wallops for data retrieval and inspection.

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.

Launch updates will be available via the Wallops Facebook and Twitter sites. Smartphone users can also download the “What’s Up at Wallops” app, which contains information on the launch, as well as a compass showing the precise direction for launch viewing.