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“re-entry technology”
NASA Successfully Tests Hypersonic Inflatable Heat Shield

Credit: NASA

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (NASA PR) — A large inflatable heat shield developed by NASA’s Space Technology Program has successfully survived a trip through Earth’s atmosphere while travelling at hypersonic speeds up to 7,600 mph.

The Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3) was launched by sounding rocket at 7:01 a.m. Monday from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. The purpose of the IRVE-3 test was to show that a space capsule can use an inflatable outer shell to slow and protect itself 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.


  • Parabolic Arc
  • July 23, 2012
ASI, JAXA Discuss Cooperation on Re-entry Vehicle Tech

IXV rendering (courtesy of CNES)

By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

With both Europe and Japan taking steps toward independent human access to space, officials from JAXA and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) are meeting today to discuss collaboration on an orbital vehicle that would be able to re-enter the atmosphere and be recovered safely.

The goal of the workshop is to gather innovative ideas for a preliminary study of a future atmospheric re-entry demonstrator to be launched aboard Europe’s Vega rocket, according to an ASI press release.


  • Parabolic Arc
  • March 26, 2012
Vega to Fly ESA Experimental Reentry Vehicle

ESA PR —  The launch of ESA’s IXV Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle on Europe’s new Vega rocket is now in detailed planning, a major step towards the craft’s flight in 2014.

Launched into a suborbital trajectory from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, IXV will return to Earth as if from a low-orbit mission, to test and qualify new critical technologies for future reentry vehicles.


  • Parabolic Arc
  • December 19, 2011
ESA Moving Forward on Lifting-body Re-entry Program

ESA lifting body entry vehicle on the cusp of final approval
Spaceflight Now

The European Space Agency should formally approve this summer the construction of an Italian-led demonstrator that will launch into space on a rocket, fly back to Earth like an airplane and parachute into the Pacific Ocean, according to the mission’s project manager.


  • Parabolic Arc
  • June 14, 2011