Space

By Aazam

Inflatable Heat Shield a ‘Huge Success’ to Land Human on Mars

The technology demonstrated may serve as the basis for Mars surface landing technology.

The Joint Polar Satellite System-2, a polar weather satellite, and the Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID), a technological demonstration, both launched into space on November 10.

From low-Earth orbit, the aeroshell reentered the atmosphere after LOFTID separated from the polar satellite and expanded.

A team in a boat was waiting to recover the heat shield and backup data recorder when they splashed down in the Pacific Ocean approximately two hours after launch, hundreds of miles off the coast of Hawaii.

The team used preliminary data to assess if the aeroshell was capable of slowing down and surviving the steep dive from low-Earth orbit to the ocean.

Mission aims to test inflatable heat shield technology that potentially land larger robotic missions on Venus or Saturn's moon Titan or return heavy payloads to Earth.

To generate the drag required to slow down and safely land a spaceship on Mars, where the atmosphere is less than 1% the density of Earth's atmosphere, additional assistance is required.

In order to assist the spacecraft slow down more quickly and prevent part of the super intense heating, the aeroshell is built to produce higher drag in the upper atmosphere.

The project is a "great success" and shares a goal with the Artemis project, which aims to return humans to the moon and eventually land crews on Mars.

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