NASA successfully tests hypersonic inflatable heat shield

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  1. Matthew
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    Matthew Blue dog all the way!

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    NASA successfully tests hypersonic inflatable heat shield
    July 23, 2012
    The Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3) was launched by sounding rocket at 7:01 a.m. Monday, July 23, 2012 from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va.
    NASA Wallops 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. Monday 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. "It's great to see the initial results indicate we had a successful test of the hypersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerator," said James Reuther, deputy director of NASA's Space Technology Program. "This demonstration flight goes a long way toward showing the value of these technologies to serve as atmospheric entry heat shields for future space." IRVE-3, a cone of uninflated high-tech rings covered by a thermal blanket of layers of heat resistant materials, launched from a three-stage Black Brant rocket for its suborbital flight. About 6 minutes into the flight, as planned, the 680-pound inflatable aeroshell, or heat shield, and its payload separated from the launch vehicle's 22-inch-diameter nose cone about 280 miles over the Atlantic Ocean. An inflation system pumped nitrogen into the IRVE-3 aeroshell until it expanded to a mushroom shape almost 10 feet in diameter. Then the aeroshell plummeted at hypersonic speeds through Earth's atmosphere. Engineers in the Wallops control room watched as four onboard cameras confirmed the inflatable shield held its shape despite the force and high heat of reentry. Onboard instruments provided temperature and pressure data. Researchers will study that information to help develop future inflatable heat shield designs.

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    Last edited: Jul 23, 2012
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    Air Force hypersonic aircraft goes 3,000+ mph...
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    Experimental Air Force aircraft goes hypersonic
    May 3,`13 -- An experimental, unmanned aircraft developed for the U.S. Air Force went hypersonic during a test off the Southern California coast, traveling at more than 3,000 mph, the Air Force said Friday.
     
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    Buildings damaged after hypersonic weapon abort...

    Explosion of experimental Army rocket damaged buildings at launch site
    August 26, 2014 ~ The target of the experimental Advanced Hypersonic Weapon was Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands, but Army flight controllers blew up the rocket for safety reasons after detecting an anomaly, the DOD said.
     

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