Inflatable Re-Entry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE) Design Overview
- Lindell, Michael C.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Additional Creators:
- Stephan, Ryan A., Starr, Brett R., Dillman, Robert A., Hughes, Stephen J., Player, Charles J., and Cheatwood, F. McNeil
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available.
Free-to-read Unrestricted online access
- Inflatable aeroshells offer several advantages over traditional rigid aeroshells for atmospheric entry. Inflatables offer increased payload volume fraction of the launch vehicle shroud and the possibility to deliver more payload mass to the surface for equivalent trajectory constraints. An inflatable s diameter is not constrained by the launch vehicle shroud. The resultant larger drag area can provide deceleration equivalent to a rigid system at higher atmospheric altitudes, thus offering access to higher landing sites. When stowed for launch and cruise, inflatable aeroshells allow access to the payload after the vehicle is integrated for launch and offer direct access to vehicle structure for structural attachment with the launch vehicle. They also offer an opportunity to eliminate system duplication between the cruise stage and entry vehicle. There are however several potential technical challenges for inflatable aeroshells. First and foremost is the fact that they are flexible structures. That flexibility could lead to unpredictable drag performance or an aerostructural dynamic instability. In addition, durability of large inflatable structures may limit their application. They are susceptible to puncture, a potentially catastrophic insult, from many possible sources. Finally, aerothermal heating during planetary entry poses a significant challenge to a thin membrane. NASA Langley Research Center and NASA's Wallops Flight Facility are jointly developing inflatable aeroshell technology for use on future NASA missions. The technology will be demonstrated in the Inflatable Re-entry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE). This paper will detail the development of the initial IRVE inflatable system to be launched on a Terrier/Orion sounding rocket in the fourth quarter of CY2005. The experiment will demonstrate achievable packaging efficiency of the inflatable aeroshell for launch, inflation, leak performance of the inflatable system throughout the flight regime, structural integrity when exposed to a relevant dynamic pressure and aerodynamic stability of the inflatable system. Structural integrity and structural response of the inflatable will be verified with photogrammetric measurements of the back side of the aeroshell in flight. Aerodynamic stability as well as drag performance will be verified with on board inertial measurements and radar tracking from multiple ground radar stations. The experiment will yield valuable information about zero-g vacuum deployment dynamics of the flexible inflatable structure with both inertial and photographic measurements. In addition to demonstrating inflatable technology, IRVE will validate structural, aerothermal, and trajectory modeling techniques for the inflatable. Structural response determined from photogrammetrics will validate structural models, skin temperature measurements and additional in-depth temperature measurements will validate material thermal performance models, and on board inertial measurements along with radar tracking from multiple ground radar stations will validate trajectory simulation models.
- Other Subject(s):
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20050182124.
AIAA Paper 2005-1636.
18th AIAA Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems Technology Conference and Seminar; 23-26 May 2005; Munich; Germany.
- No Copyright.
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