Hypersonic Inflatable Heat Shield Successfully Tested
ScienceDaily (July 23, 2012) — A large inflatable heat shield developed by NASA's Space Technology Program has successfully survived a trip through Earth's atmosphere while travelling at hypersonic speeds up to 7,600 mph.
The Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3) was launched by sounding rocket at 7:01 a.m. July 23 from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. The purpose of the IRVE-3 test was to show that a space capsule can use an inflatable outer shell to slow and protect itself as it enters an atmosphere at hypersonic speed during planetary entry and descent, or as it returns to Earth with cargo from the International Space Station.
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