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Changing the way we explore other worlds

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Loads Tests Validate Design of Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator

A new donut-shaped inflatable device designed to more effectively slow down a spacecraft upon atmospheric re-entry to Earth or other planets could not only be more economical than current methods, but also available as soon as 2020.

However, before the hardware can be fully developed for use on a spacecraft, the technology developed by NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, had to undergo tests to validate its structural integrity. NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center's Flight Loads Laboratory was called on to do the job, with laboratory personnel conducting structural tests on eight different donut-shaped test articles of three different sizes. The testing occurred over a seven-month period beginning in mid-2013 and extending through early 2014.

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HIAD: Changing the way we explore other worlds

Slowing spacecraft as they descend into planetary bodies' atmospheres and then land safely on the surface has been crucial to NASA since spacecraft first lifted off Earth in the late 1950s. The Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator, or HIAD, is being developed by NASA's Langley Research Center to decelerate spacecraft from the hypersonic speeds at which they travel when in space as they enter planetary atmospheres.

HIAD is an inflatable technology that resembles a giant cone of inner tubes similar to a child's stacking ring. A prototype version of the device recently underwent structural loads testing in the Flight Loads Laboratory at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center.

The video includes both final compression and torsion buckle testing of the HIAD in NASA Armstrong's Flight Loads Lab and comments about the development and loads testing from project officials.

For more on the Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator and its loads testing, visit:

For more on the capabilities of NASA Armstrong's Flight Loads Lab, visit:­Facilities/FLL/index.html

Credit: NASA

Source: NASA - Multimedia

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf
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