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NES Video Chat: Inflatable Re-entry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3)
December 7, 2012


Date: Dec. 7, 2012
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. EST
Topic: Inflatable Re-entry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3)
Grades: 6-12

On Dec. 7, 2012, Walter Bruce, a senior thermal engineer at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia answered student questions about NASA's Inflatable Re-entry Vehicle Experiment, or IRVE-3, an experiment designed to demonstrate the feasibility of inflatable spacecraft technology. The technology could be used to protect spacecraft when entering a planet's atmosphere or returning to Earth.

Bruce is working on the IRVE-3, which is one of NASA's many research efforts to develop new technologies to advance space travel. It's part of a project called Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator, or HIAD.

Space vehicles that enter a planetary atmosphere, like Earth's or Mars', require the use of a thermal protection system to protect them from aerodynamic heating. Several types of thermal protection systems have been used throughout the history of spaceflight. Now NASA is working on HIAD, a new kind of lightweight reentry system that includes an inflatable heat shield allowing a spacecraft to safely enter and descend through the atmosphere.

Bruce is from Yorktown, Va. After graduating from Tabb High School, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C.

As a pastime, Bruce enjoys running and is a member of Langley Research Center's Runners Club.

More Information
›  Launchpad: Mission Infusion - A Look at What's Ahead
›  Launchpad: Descent and Landing - It's a Matter of Control
›  NASA eClips™ - Other Launchpad Videos
›  IRVE-3 video
›  Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator

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Walter Bruce
Walter Bruce is a Senior Thermal Engineer at NASA of Langley Research Center.
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Page Last Updated: September 18th, 2013
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