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NASA - Adaptable, Deployable Entry Placement Technology (ADEPT)

The ADEPT concept is a mechanically deployable semi-rigid aeroshell entry system capable of achieving low ballistic coefficient during entry suitable for a variety of planetary or earth return missions leveraging Ames' expertise in TPS material and entry system design, development and testing.

ADEPT is a game changing technology development project to develop, test and demonstrate a deployable aeroshell concept as a viable thermal protection system (TPS) for entry, descent and landing (EDL) of science and exploration class payload missions.

NASA Ames is a leader in the development and innovation of thermal protection system (TPS) technologies. Ames is the lead NASA center for a multi-center ADEPT Project to develop a deployable aeroshell TPS concept for application on future planetary and earth return missions.

This is a picture of an Arcjet pretest of the Adaptable, Deployable Entry Placement Technology carbon fabric in the Interaction Heating Facility. ADEPT sample ready for test in the Ames Arc Jet. Image credit: NASA/Ames

ADEPT is a NASA technology development project to develop an entry system concept consisting of a series of deployable ribs and struts, connected with a flexible fabric skin which when deployed functions as a semi-rigid aeroshell entry system to perform entry, descent and landing (EDL) functions. In addition to acting as the aeroshell structural surface, the fabric skin serves as the primary component of the EDL thermal protection system (TPS). This concept will be used to safely deploy scientific payloads or enable long term human exploration to other planets.

Current robotic and human missions are limited by rigid, high ballistic coefficient aeroshells. The deployable feature of ADEPT allows each mission to utilize an aeroshell design that fits within existing launch vehicle systems and later transforms into a low ballistic coefficient configuration for EDL. ADEPT will seek to leverage off-the-shelf, space proven components with novel integration and testing methodology to develop a sub-scale functional prototype test article at TRL 5. Woven carbon fabric is the preferred material for the aeroshell flexible fabric skin due to its structural and thermal properties.

This is a picture of a Bi-axial Load Aerothermal Mechanical (BLAM) arcjet test of the Adaptable, Deployable Entry Placement Technology (ADEPT) carbon fabric under combined aerothermal and mechanical tension loads. ADEPT sample during a test in the Ames Arc Jet. Image credit: NASA/Ames

Project objectives and deliverables will include:

  • Testing and characterization of woven carbon fabric for the aeroshell material that will serve as both a flexible aeroshell structure and a TPS
  • Design and development of load-bearing deployable support structure and deployment mechanisms
  • End-to-End Mission Feasibility Study and application to ADEPT-VITaL, a GSFC managed mission to Venus

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Page Last Updated: August 5th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator