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IRVE-3 Launch

IRVE-3: Inflatable Heat Shield a Splashing Success

Third Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment launches, demonstrates design and technologies that could someday transform planetary exploration.

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Inflatable Spacecraft Heat Shield Set to Launch

IRVE-3 will test inflatable heat shield technology that could transform planetary exploration.

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Engineers check out IRVE-3 after a successful inflation system test

IRVE-3 Flight Hardware Test

The Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3), the third in a series of suborbital flight tests of new spacecraft reentry technology, is ...

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HIAD: Changing the Way We Explore Other Worlds

    A giant cone of inner tubes assembled sort of like a child's stacking ring toy may some day help cargo, or even people, land on another planet, return to Earth or any destination with an atmosphere.

    NASA calls the inflatable spacecraft technology Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator or HIAD, for short.

    The HIAD could give NASA more options for future planetary missions, because it could allow spacecraft to carry larger, heavier scientific instruments and other tools for exploration.
     

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Components of the IRVE-3

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HIAD 101

The Big Picture

Illustrated HIAD reentry

Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerators (HIADs)

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Pump Up the Volume

The inflatable structure is the HIAD's "skeleton."

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The Heat Is On

The thermal protection system is the HIAD's "skin."

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It's a Drag

Knowing how a spacecraft flies and how to control it make for a better landing.

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Launch and Land

Before the HIAD can explore it has to pass test after test.

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What's Next?

HEART

The HIAD is more than a one-hit wonder.

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Play the HIAD App

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