IRVE-3 launch invitation (594KB JPEG). Credit: NASA/AMA
IRVE-3 Launch at Wallops Flight Facility
First Flight Opportunity: July 21, 2012 8am
Flight window: July 21-24, 2012
The Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3) is currently scheduled to launch from Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore July 20*. IRVE-3 is an example of a Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD). IRVE-3 will flight test this innovative space technology as part of NASA's Game Changing Technology Program.
A HIAD spacecraft employs a flexible heat shield supported by an inflatable structure to survive atmospheric entry. HIAD technology could allow spacecraft to carry larger, heavier scientific instruments and other payloads for exploration. This technology could be used for future planetary travel or to return cargo to Earth. A team of engineers from NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA and Wallops Flight Facility at Wallops Island, VA, working closely with industry, have spent almost 3 years preparing for the flight test.
Getting to Wallops
Viewing Launches at Wallops
NASA Vistor Center, Wallops Flight Facility