NASA's Wallops Flight Facility at Virginia Shore gathered people to celebrate the solar eclipse on Monday.
Video by Clara Vaughn
A parachute designed for use in future Mars missions will be tested during an upcoming rocket launcher by NASA Wallops Flight Facility.
The launch is scheduled for Tuesday, March 27th. The launch window is 6:45 to 10:15  The parachute test will be on board a 58-foot suborbital rocket Terrier-Black Brant IX, according to a NASA press release.
The rocket carries the Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment, or ASPIRE.
The payload – a bullet-topped cylindrical structure carrying the test parachute, parachute triggering mechanism, and high-resolution instruments including cameras to record data – is expected to reach 32 miles approximately two minutes after the flight] will then splash down 40 miles from Wallops Island in the Atlantic Ocean. NASA wants to recover it and return it to Wallops for data collection.
The parachute under test is expected to slow the spacecraft for the Mars rover mission as it enters the Martian atmosphere at more than 12,000 miles per hour.
A previous test of the ASPIRE experiment was successfully launched from Wallops in October.
"Everything went according to plan or better than planned, we not only proved that we were able to get our payload up to the right altitude and speed conditions in the Martian atmosphere, but as an added bonus, we also saw our parachute in action" said Ian Clark, technical director of testing at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, after the October 4, 2017 test, according to a NASA press release.
The Mars 2020 rover mission will look for signs of past habitable conditions on the planet and signs of bygone life after a NASA mission survey] The rover is said to be also collect samples of rocks and soils on Mars that can be returned to Earth for investigation in a future mission.
The mission is also to demonstrate technologies to tackle some of the challenges of future human expeditions Mars – including testing a method of producing oxygen from the planet's thin atmosphere, which is 96 percent carbon dioxide.
The Mars mission is due to launch in July 2020 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Live Broadcast The launch of the Wallops Parachute Test starts on March 27 at 6:15 am on the Wallops Ustream site.
Launch updates will be available on Wallops' Facebook and Twitter sites.
Smartphone users can view the "What's Up on Wallops" app, which includes information about the launch, as well as a compass to view the exact direction for launching.
The NASA Visitor Center in Wallops will be available for the launch Display is open at 6:00 am on start day. It is expected that the launch will be visible only from the Wallops area.
The backup's starting date is March 28 through April 10.
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ASPIRE is run by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, with the support of NASA's Langley Research Center at Hampton and the Ames Research Center in California for NASA's Directorate of W scientific mission in Washington.
NASA's Sounding Rocket Program is in Wallops. Orbital ATK provides mission planning, engineering services and field operations through the NASA Rockets Rocket Operations Agreement.
NASA Heliophysics Division in Washington manages the sounding rocket program for the agency.
For more information on the Sound Research Rocket Program, see https: //www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sounding-rackets/index.html
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