NASA’s high altitude balloon carrying the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) is inflated at the Pacific Missile Range Facility.  After liftoff, the balloon carrying the LDSD test vehicle floated upward to an altitude of 120,000 feet. The  balloon then released the LDSD test vehicle and its rocket fired, taking the craft to an altitude of 180,000 feet. Traveling at about Mach 3.8, LDSD deployed the first of its new technologies, a doughnut-shaped tube called the Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (SIAD). At approximately Mach 2.5. the test vehicle deployed the largest parachute ever made which, though not fully deployed, carried the LDSD to the ocean surface. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mathew J. Diendorf/Released)

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