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Third Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment launches, demonstrates design and technologies that could someday transform planetary exploration.
IRVE-3 will test inflatable heat shield technology that could transform planetary exploration.
The Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3), the third in a series of suborbital flight tests of new spacecraft reentry technology, is ...
Flight Window July 21-24, 2012
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.
Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerators (HIADs)
The inflatable structure is the HIAD's "skeleton."
The thermal protection system is the HIAD's "skin."
Knowing how a spacecraft flies and how to control it make for a better landing.
Before the HIAD can explore it has to pass test after test.
The HIAD is more than a one-hit wonder.