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IRVE-3 Flight Hardware Test Sounding Rocket

July 20, 2012
Image Caption: Engineers checked out the Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment after the successful completion of an inflation system test. Credit: NASA/ Sean Smith

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.

The Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3) is the third in a series of suborbital flight tests of this new technology.

Technicians will vacuum pack the uninflated 10-foot (3.05 meters) diameter cone of high-tech inner tubes into a 22-inch (56 centimeters) diameter sounding rocket.

During the flight test an on board system will inflate the tubes — stretching a thermal blanket that covers them -to create an aeroshell or heat shield. That heat shield will protect a payload that consists of four segments including the inflation system, steering mechanisms, telemetry equipment and camera gear.

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Source: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center



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