NASA completes LOFTID expertise demonstration designed to land people on Mars

NASA accomplished the expertise demonstration of its Low-Earth Orbit Flight Check of an Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID) mission. The “inflatable aerodynamic decelerator,” or “aeroshell” expertise might in the future assist land people on Mars.

LOFTID expertise

In line with NASA, it has relied on inflexible aeroshells parachutes and rockets to decelerate folks, autos and {hardware} throughout their entry descent and touchdown onto a planet or different cosmic object with an environment.

The area company spent greater than a decade creating its Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) expertise. The LOFTID orbital flight check was the following step of this system. At 6 metres in diameter, the LOFTID reentry car was the biggest blunt physique to ever go into atmospheric entry, in accordance with NASA.

Picture credit score: NASA

Utilizing HIAD expertise for reentry

When a spacecraft or anything enters a planet’s environment, drag acts upon the physique and slows it down, changing kinetic vitality into warmth. The massive dimension of the HIAD machine implies that it creates extra drag and begins the deceleration course of increased within the environment than conventional aeroshells.


Not solely will this permit payloads which are a lot heavier, however it might additionally permit landings beginning at increased altitudes. Additional, it may be used to convey again huge objects again from Earth’s orbit, like gadgets from the Worldwide House Station. NASA says the expertise might additionally probably be used for bringing again rocket belongings after they’re launched.

HIAD design

A HIAD machine can have an inflatable construction that’s able to holding its form towards drag forces. It can even have a protecting versatile thermal safety system that may defend it from the warmth generated throughout re-entry. Its construction is made with a stack of pressurised concentric rings which are strapped to type a cone-shaped construction.

In line with NASA, these rings are constructed from braided artificial fibres which are 15 occasions stronger than metal. This whole system is foldable, packable, and deployable, that means that it’ll take up much less room on rockets. This additionally permits its design to be scalable.

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