Publications and Additional Resources
"The Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3) is the third in a series of suborbital flight tests of this new technology. It is scheduled to launch from the Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore this summer."
IRVE-3 Flight Hardware Test
"A NASA flight test designed to demonstrate the feasibility of inflatable spacecraft technology is coming down to the wire."
"MSL's heat shield will slow it down this way, but at 15 feet in diameter, the shield is as wide as can be made while still fitting inside one of NASA’s launch vehicles. So the agency is looking into Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (IAD) technology. Unlike a flimsy parachute, these devices would be rigid when inflated and be able to operate at speeds that would tear a parachute to shreds.For instance, a HIAD (the H stands for hypersonic) could be folded and packed inside a rocket for take-off but then inflated just before entering the Martian atmosphere, growing from 15 feet to more than 80 in a few seconds. It would likely be made of lightweight materials that are rugged and rigid enough to survive heating up in the atmosphere, such as Kevlar."
"This spring, Langley Research Center in Hampton will launch a test of its new inflatable decelerator, designed to safely cushion vehicles landing in the mountains of Mars or materials sent from the space station back to Earth."