Search Exo Cruiser

Oct 14, 2013

IRVE and IXV - NASA's and ESA's New Re-entry Vehicles

IRVE (Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment)

I was my self thinking that a simple re-entry method might be an inflatable parachute made of fire resistant material and an astronaut wearing a fire proof space suit. Well, it seems to be that NASA has been thinking the same problem and doing IRVE (Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment) which is very similar.

IRVE is inflatable and made of fire proof materials. They are not using it as a parachute but more like a heat shield in front of the entry vehicle (or astronaut). It could most likely to be understood to be a combination of a heat shield and a parachute. We could call it an inflatable heat shield (IHS).

General Electric MOOSE. The design was proposed by General Electric in the early 1960s.

IHS or a similar device has also the potential to be used as some kind of a personal space jump device (SJD) for a space man similar to the GE MOOSE but all in a single backpack.

IRVE (Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment)

Here is an animation how IRVE works.

IRVE 3 Animation

NASA has actually tested IRVE already several times and it has proven to bee a good idea. Most likely they will be using it as the primary device when landing any planet with gas around it (like Earth or Mars) since now it is rather easy to adjust the descend speed just by adjusting the diameter of the inflatable shield.

This is very much the device they have been missing to actually land on Mars etc. The following video will explain the ideas.

Video: NASA X IRVE 3 - A New Way To Land On Other Planets

In the future they will be doing HEART (High Energy Atmospheric Reentry Tests) at NASA sending material from ISS to Earth. These tests will improve the inflatable heat shield (IHS) technology. The following video shows an animation of that.

Video: HEART

The following picture shows IRVE-3 parts.
IRVE-3 Parts

IXV (Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle)

ESA in Europe has also been experimenting with re-entry vehicles and discovered IXV (Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle). But this is more conventional re-entry vehicle with parachutes and heat shields. The heat shield is made of two large parts and not of tiles as the space shuttle had. Lets talk about IRVE first since I find it more simple solution although IXV is meant to cover a longer distance with its lifting body design.

IXV (Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle)

Here is an animation how IXV works during a re-entry.

IXV Lifting Body Re-entry Animation

Also ESA has tested IXV. Until now they have tested at least the final part of the re-entry and will most likely to test the whole entry in the future. The following video shows the final test.

Video: ESA IXV Splashdown 19.6.2013 in Sardinia, Italy

Here are the main parts of the IXV.

IXV Outer Parts


/1/ YouTube

/2/ NASA

/3/ ESA

* * *

No comments:

Post a Comment