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NASA tests inflatable heat shield
Posted: Wed, Aug 19, 2009, 7:37 AM ET (1137 GMT)
Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment (NASA) A NASA suborbital rocket tested Monday an inflatable heat shield that could reduce the weight of future reentry capsules. The Inflatable Re-entry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE) was flown on a Black Brant 9 suborbital rocket from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Monday morning. The 3-meter inflatable heat shield deployed in 90 seconds after the payload reached an altitude of about 200 kilometers. NASA officials said the shield worked as planned during its descent through the atmosphere to splashdown in the Atlantic. Inflatable heat shields could be used on future Mars missions, where mass is at a premium
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