The trial will initially entail using a helium balloon to lift the saucer to about 120,000 feet, after which a rocket will be used to take it up into the stratosphere at four times the speed of sound.
Then the saucer’s decelerator and parachute will put through its paces.
Nasa will do a trial launch of its first ever ‘flying saucer’ Photo: NASA
This will be done by freeing the saucer and firing four rocket motors to stabilise the craft.
The craft, or to give it its official name Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), looks like a cross between a flying saucer and an inflatable rubber ring.
Its task is to deliver vital equipment to missions such as that on Mars without plummeting to the surface too quickly and destroying the payload.
“Our goal is to get to an altitude and velocity which simulates the kind of environment one of our vehicles would encounter when it would fly in the Martian atmosphere,” said Ian Clark, a Nasa engineer.
“Our team has been working on this project for several years, and we have been so focused,” Mr Clark added. “We came here to do our job and get this vehicle off the ground, but unfortunately weather didn’t allow us to do this.
“We are very optimistic and are hoping to test the vehicle at the end of the month.”