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Inflatable Heat Shield Survives Hypersonic Stress Test

July 24, 2012
Reuters / Powered by
An experimental heat shield developed by NASA has survived a trip through Earth's atmosphere while traveling at hypersonic speeds up to 7600 mph (12,231 kph). In a test flight, the Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment successfully demonstrated that an inflatable outer shell can protect a space capsule as it enters an atmosphere at hypersonic speed during planetary entry and descent, or as it returns to Earth with cargo from the International Space Station.
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