GMAO continues to provide support for ASPIRE


line drawing of ASPIRE rocket

GMAO once again provided customized forecast support for the launch of a Black Brant IX suborbital sounding rocket carrying the Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE). ASPIRE 2 was successfully launched at 12:19 p.m. EDT, March 31, 2018, from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. The mission team used data from the GEOS-FP system as a tool for targeting, range safety, and reconstruction for the flight. It also helped determine the exact moment to trigger the deployment of the parachute. ASPIRE is a test parachute for possible future missions to Mars.

ASPIRE in assembly room at WFF

The rocket reached an altitude of 50 kilometers in approximately two minutes of flight. The payload is a bullet-nosed cylindrical structure containing a supersonic parachute, the parachute's deployment mechanism, and the test's high-definition instrumentation, including cameras, to record data. The high-altitude deployment of this parachute from a rocket in the Earth's atmosphere simulates the thin Martian atmosphere that will be encountered when descending to the surface of Mars with a science payload. GMAO will continue to support ASPIRE launches every two months for the next year.

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