Watch the launch of NASA’s robo-mushroom today!
Officially called the Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD), the new device is hoped to give NASA more options for future planetary missions, because it could allow spacecraft to carry larger, heavier scientific instruments and other tools for exploration. HIAD is made from a giant cone of inflated rings, which take the heat and create drag during re-entry, and offers reduced weight and size compared to traditional heat shields. It may one day be used to return cargo or people return to Earth from space.
Launch of the third Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3) is scheduled for Monday, July 23, between 6:45 and 7:45am, EDT, and can be viewed online, here.