NASA says test flight of new heat shield a success

July 23, 2012

NASA says an experimental heat shield for future spacecraft landings has successfully survived a test launch that brought it through the earth's atmosphere at speeds of up to 7,600 mph (12,230 kph).

The demonstration launch occurred Monday at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

A high-speed Navy Stiletto boat is attempting to retrieve the 680-pound (310-kilogram) heat shield.

The purpose of the launch was to determine whether a space capsule can use an inflatable to slow and protect itself as it enters an atmosphere at hypersonic speed during a planetary entry and descent.

Explore further: Rocket to Launch Inflatable Re-entry Capsule


Related Stories

Rocket to Launch Inflatable Re-entry Capsule

August 14, 2009

( -- 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.

IRVE-3 flight hardware test sounding rocket

July 19, 2012

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.

Recommended for you

Orbiter views Mars surface fractures

October 8, 2015

The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter often takes images of Martian sand dunes to study the mobile soils. These images provide information about erosion and ...

NASA measuring the pulsating aurora

October 7, 2015

Thanks to a lucky conjunction of two satellites, a ground-based array of all-sky cameras, and some spectacular aurora borealis, researchers have uncovered evidence for an unexpected role that electrons have in creating the ...

How to prepare for Mars? NASA consults Navy sub force

October 5, 2015

As NASA contemplates a manned voyage to Mars and the effects missions deeper into space could have on astronauts, it's tapping research from another outfit with experience sending people to the deep: the U.S. Navy submarine ...


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.