IRVE-3 flight hardware test sounding rocket

July 19, 2012
IRVE-3 flight hardware test sounding rocket
Engineers checked out the Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment after the successful completion of an inflation system test. Credit: NASA/ Sean Smith

NASA will launch an inflatable aeroshell/heat shield technology demonstrator on a Black Brant XI sounding rocket July 22 from the agency's launch range at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3) is the third in a series of suborbital flight tests of this new technology.

Technicians will vacuum pack the uninflated 10-foot (3.05 meters) diameter cone of high-tech inner tubes into a 22-inch (56 centimeters) diameter .

During the an on board system will inflate the tubes -- stretching a thermal blanket that covers them -to create an aeroshell or . That heat shield will protect a payload that consists of four segments including the inflation system, steering mechanisms, telemetry equipment and camera gear.

Explore further: First Rocket Parts Of NASA's New Launch System Arrive In Florida

Related Stories

Rocket to Launch Inflatable Re-entry Capsule

August 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Inflatable aircraft are not a new idea. Hot air balloons have been around for more than two centuries and blimps are a common sight over many sports stadiums. But it's hard to imagine an inflatable spacecraft.

Image: Opportunity's heat shield

August 17, 2011

This image from 2005 shows the remains of the heat shield from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, broken into two key pieces, the main piece on the left side and a broken-off flank piece near the middle of the image. ...

Recommended for you

How friendly is Enceladus' ocean to life?

February 5, 2016

How acidic is the ocean on Saturn's icy moon Enceladus? It's a fundamental question to understanding if this geyser-spouting moon could support life.

Inside Rosetta's comet

February 4, 2016

There are no large caverns inside Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. ESA's Rosetta mission has made measurements that clearly demonstrate this, solving a long-standing mystery.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.