NASA Tests Foldable Heat Shield

AlphaAtlas

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On Wednesday, NASA tested an umbrella like, foldable heatshield. NASA says the "Adaptable Deployable Entry Placement Technology" is a game changer, allowing rockets to carry heatshields far larger than the diameter of the rocket itself.

Check out a video of the tech here.

Spacecraft typically approach planets at speeds tens of thousands of miles per hour - screaming fast. Entering a planet's atmosphere at those speeds compresses atmospheric gas, creating pressure shock and generating intense heat right in front of the spacecraft. Aeroshells slow spacecraft during entry and shield them from heat. ADEPT could be key to future NASA missions that require extra-large aeroshells to protect spacecraft destined to land on the surface of other planets, all without requiring larger rockets.
 
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This tech has been around since the 90's. I know because I worked at a facility that created one. But the rocket holding it blew up on the launch pad. They managed to recover it but by 1997 it's priority was sidelined.
 

gunbust3r

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Is the dude going poke poke, poke poke poke with his finger an official QA process or was that the videographers idea?
 

T_A

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Impressive , in this day and age we rarely hear about any innovation in space exploration field.
 

NeghVar

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While it may be able to shield the craft from heat, how much tension can the material handle?
 

Grimlaking

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I thought we had to have a minimum speed of re-entry or we would deflect off of the atmosphere dependent on the density of the atmosphere and the weight/volume of the object. Or am I the one being dense here?
 
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I thought we had to have a minimum speed of re-entry or we would deflect off of the atmosphere dependent on the density of the atmosphere and the weight/volume of the object. Or am I the one being dense here?

Depends on approach angle.
 
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I thought we had to have a minimum speed of re-entry or we would deflect off of the atmosphere dependent on the density of the atmosphere and the weight/volume of the object. Or am I the one being dense here?

This is a valid concern.

Early testing on re-entry vehicles tries to actually reduce aerodynamic drag. The initial thinking was less drag = less friction. But all that did was make the shock cone smaller. With a blunt nose, the shock cone is much much wider and it has a larger transition boundary so it's not as hot close to the skin. But you are quite right. The pressures are enormous.
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serpretetsky

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I want to know more about how they test it. Is there some rocket engine that creates 10km/s exhaust gas or something?
 
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I want to know more about how they test it. Is there some rocket engine that creates 10km/s exhaust gas or something?
Hyper Sonic chamber. They spend the entire day emptying one tank and pressurizing another then accelerate the airflow of the two with a bell mouth nozzle.

Only last a few seconds but that is all the data they need.

It can take a day or more just to prep the tanks.
 

DrBorg

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There's a Cool SF story where a guy rides an "umbrella" heat shield like this back to earth; I'd ride that ride, lol.

"Orbital Decay" is the book.
 

serpretetsky

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