"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 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.