NASA Now Minute: HIAD: Opening New Possibilities for Planetary Exploration

[ Sound Effects and Music ] Slowing down spacecraft using
NASA’s Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator. Whew! [ Sound Effects ] I’m Walt Bruce. I’m a thermal engineer at NASA
Langley Research Center here in Hampton Virginia. The problem we presently have is
that all of the launch vehicles that we have, all have
shroud diameters somewhere around 4.6 meters. So if you design a rigid heat
shield for your spacecraft, you can’t be much larger than 4
and a half meters in diameter. So what we’re looking
at is we would like to have a larger heat
shield, give us more drag, be able to slow us down either
higher in the atmosphere or we could carry potentially
more mass and the way to do that is with an inflatable
type of heat shield. [ Sound Effects ] Be sure to tell your teacher to visit the NASA Explorer
Schools Virtual Campus for more videos and STEM
resources for your classroom. [ Music ] [ Sound Effects ] [ End ]

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