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Game Changing Development

Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD)

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD)

Develop an entry and descent technology to enhance and enable robotic and scientific missions to destinations with atmospheres.

The Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) project will focus on the development and demonstration of hypersonic inflatable aeroshell technologies suitable for an ISS down-mass capability. The project will focus on the completion of an IRVE 3 development flight test and other necessary analysis and ground-based testing. The key technologies include flexible TPS materials for hypersonic entry conditions, attachment and inflation mechanism and high-strength, lightweight, inflatable bladder materials capable of withstanding high temperatures. The HIAD Project is developing a truly crosscutting technology for atmospheric entry. This technology enhances, and potentially enables, a variety of proposed NASA missions to destinations with atmospheres (Mars, Venus, Titan, the gas giants). This holds true for returning payloads to Earth from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and beyond, such as ISS down mass or sample return capsules. Not only is this technology applicable to robotic vehicles, the technology is envisioned to be scalable to crewed missions (to Mars or Earth return). The HIAD Project is orchestrating a series of ground and flight tests to demonstrate the viability of thermal resilient materials manufactured in robust configurations to withstand the extreme structural and thermal environments experienced during atmospheric entry. Benefits of using the inflatable decelerator design includes mission flexibility provided by the minimal volume and mass requirements to transfer the stowed HIAD to its destination, as well as increased landed mass, accuracy, and altitude in a variety of space applications.

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