Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD-2)

Artist's conceptual drawing simulating HIAD atomospheric entry and aeroshell deployment.

The Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) project is an enabling technology that will accommodate the atmospheric entry of heavy payloads to planetary bodies such as Mars. HIAD overcomes size and weight limitations of current rigid systems by utilizing inflatable softgood materials that can be packed into a small volume and deployed to form a large aeroshell before atmospheric entry.

The inflatable aeroshell, using high temperature advanced flexible material systems, will enable atmospheric entry to planetary bodies and the landing of heavy payloads (>20 metric tons). The Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) project is focused on development of the inflatable aeroshell technology and manufacturing capability at large scale, to support an orbital atmospheric entry flight experiment at earth and Mars. HIAD overcomes size and weight limitations of current rigid systems by utilizing inflatable soft-goods materials that can be packed into a small volume and deployed to form a large aeroshell before atmospheric entry.

The HIAD design consists of an inflatable structure that addresses the drag forces, and a protective flexible thermal protection system (F-TPS) that combats the thermal loading. Hypersonic spacecraft entering the atmospheres of planets are traveling so fast that they create a high-energy pressure wave. This pressure wave entraps and rapidly compresses atmospheric gases, resulting in drag forces that decelerate the vehicle and thermal loads that heat the vehicle.

Normally, flexible materials would not be able to withstand the drag forces a spacecraft would encounter during atmospheric entry; however, the inflatable structure is constructed out of a fastened series of pressurized concentric tubes, or tori, that form an exceptionally strong blunt cone-shaped structure. The tori are constructed from braided synthetic fibers that are 15 times stronger than steel. Though the inflatable structure has the capability to withstand temperatures be yond 400 °C, the HIAD relies on the F-TPS to survive entry temperatures.

Principal Technologist Project Manager
Michelle Munk (michelle.m.munk@nasa.gov) Joe Del Corso  (joseph.a.delcorso@nasa.gov)


Child’s Toy Design Could Help Humans Get to Mars

Devising a way to one day land astronauts on Mars is a complex problem and NASA scientists think something as simple as a child’s toy design may help solve the problem. Safely landing a large spacecraft on the Red planet is just one of many engineering challenges the agency faces as it eyes an ambitious […]

First LDSD Test Flight a Success

NASA representatives participated in a media teleconference this morning to discuss the June 28, 2014 near-space test flight of the agency’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), which occurred off the coast of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. A high-altitude balloon launch occurred at 8:45 a.m. HST (11:45 a.m. PDT/2:45 p.m. EDT) […]

Aviation Academy downlink event draws interest of students

HIADS Project Manager Melinda Cagle talks about NASA’s heat shield work to students at the Aviation Academy in Newport News, Va., during a downlink event Jan. 7, 2014.

VIP Day Builds Bridges To NASA Langley

hen Karen Jackson, Virginia’s deputy secretary of technology, visits NASA’s Langley Research Center, there is always a sense of familiarity. Her mom worked at the center for 32 years and Jackson spent much of her childhood in and around Langley. “It’s very exciting to come back in my new role, to help transfer technology to […]

New NASA Space Technology App Educates Users at Hypersonic Speeds

https://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/sep/HQ_12-309_HIAD_APP.html WASHINGTON — Want to try your hand at landing an inflatable spacecraft? All you need is a smart phone, a computer or a tablet. NASA has released a new educational computer Web game based on its Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) project. The game can be played on the Internet and Apple and Android […]

Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment-3 (IRVE-3) Launch

On July 23, 2012,  the Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment-3 (IRVE-3) successfully launched the HIAD system from a sounding rocket at 7:01 a.m. from the NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va.The launch was the third in a series of suborbital flight tests to provide foundational data for NASA’s efforts to develop and integrate HIAD technology […]

Congressional visit to GCD

ame Changing Development Program Director Steve Gaddis and IRVE-3 Project Manager Mary Beth Wusk welcomed 28 congressional staffers from Washington D.C., on Thursday, Aug. 23. Wusk gave an overview of the recent success of the Inflatable Re-Entry Vehicle Experiment 3 (IRVE-3) that launched from NASA’s Wallops Space Flight Facility in July. The IRVE-3 heat shield […]

IRVE-3 Success – Wallops Flight Facility, Saturday, July 21, 2012

Here are several articles/pictures of the launch: https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?collection_id=14483&media_id=149006211&module=homepage http://www.electronicsweekly.com/Articles/24/07/2012/54195/space-nasas-irve-3-completes-inflatable-re-entry-vehicle-experiment.htm http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/48287243/ns/technology_and_science-space/ https://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/multimedia/iotw-irve3-launch.html      

Excellent Student Support for the Girl Scout Day at Busch Gardens

This year, NASA Langley Research Center partnered with Busch Gardens to promote engineering and STEM sciences to Girl Scouts in the Tidewater area. Booths were laid out displaying current projects being worked on by NASA. All of the booths had displays with 3D models of airplanes, plastic printers, giant posters, and even goop. The picture […]

Neil Cheatwood, Mary Beth Wusk of the GCD-PO discuss space technology to Aerospace Advisory Council

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/researchernews/rn_AeroAdCouncil.html Aerospace Advisory Council Visits NASA Langley By: Brian Marcolini, LARSS intern The future of aerospace and aviation hinges on two things, political support and funding. The governor’s Aerospace Advisory Council can provide both, and on Tuesday NASA’s Langley Research Center hosted the council’s quarterly meeting at the center. Developed in 2007 after NASA advocacy, the […]