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Watch: NASA launches parachute test off Virginia coast

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Posted at 11:20 AM, Mar 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-31 12:25:34-04

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. – NASA will test a parachute for possible future missions to Mars from the Wallops Flight Facility on Saturday, March 31.

The launch was originally scheduled for March 27 but was scrubbed.

The rocket will carry the Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

The payload carrying the parachute is expected to reach an altitude of 32 miles and will splash-down in the Atlantic Ocean 40 miles from Wallops Island. Then, it 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,” NASA said in a media advisory. “ASPIRE is managed by JPL, with support from NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, and Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California, for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.”

NASA’s Sounding Rocket Program is based at Wallops.