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Pepp Aeroshell

     This vehicle was used to test the parachute NASA planned to use to "soft land" the Viking on Mars. To simulate the thin Martian atmosphere the parachute needed to be used at an altitude more than 160,000 feet above the earth. A balloon launched from Roswell, N.M. was used to initially lift the aeroshell. The balloon drifted west to the missile range where the vehicle was dropped and the engines beneath the vehicle boosted it to the required altitude where the parachute was deployed. The tests were conducted in the summer of 1966. NASA