NASA Plans Inflatable Hypersonic Heat Shield Test on Monday

NASA has rescheduled the third Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3) for Monday. The experimental heat shield will be lofted by a suborbital rocket from Wallops Island, Virginia.

The test is part of the Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) project, which is being conducted under NASA’s Game Changing Technologies program. In addition to allowing NASA to send larger vehicles to other worlds, the technology could be used to return payloads from the International Space Station. For example, a HIAD might allow for the recovery of Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Cygnus freighter, which has been designed to burn up in the atmosphere after delivering supplies to the station.