On November 10, 2022, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launched a NASA climate satellite tv for pc referred to as JPSS-2 for the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Along with the satellite tv for pc, the rocket was additionally carrying a check of the inflatable LOFTID warmth defend. As an alternative of being inflexible, the warmth defend can journey in a compact kind after which be deployed to a a lot bigger measurement as soon as it’s in area.
The warmth defend, additionally referred to as an “aeroshell,” was deployed in area to journey by Earth’s environment to see if it might survive re-entry. When it entered the environment it was touring at 18,000 miles per hour, and it slowed to below 80 miles per hour earlier than its parachutes deployed. The warmth defend then splashed down into the Pacific Ocean, from the place it may very well be collected in order that engineers might analyze it.
The outcomes from the check are promising, in accordance with NASA. “[E]arly indications present that the demonstration was profitable,” NASA writes. “Along with reaching its main goal of surviving the extreme dynamic stress and heating of re-entry, it seems that the aft facet of the warmth defend – reverse LOFTID’s nostril – was effectively shielded from the re-entry atmosphere.”
It would take a number of extra months for full testing to be carried out, however the early outcomes recommend that the system can be utilized to land heavier payloads. In addition to touchdown rovers on Mars, such a warmth defend is also used on different planets like Venus or on moons like Titan, in addition to getting used on Earth.