Ballutes & Decelerators - ILC Dover

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Ballutes & Decelerators

Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerators

What is an Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (IAD)?
IAD's are deployable heat shields used for atmospheric reentry. The primary benefit is to allow a very large aeroshell to be packaged into a small volume for launch. ILC has worked on numerous innovative concepts for IAD's over the years and pioneered several constructions techniques in use today. This type of structure could prove invaluable for allowing large payloads to enter Mars' atmosphere as well as to reduce launch costs for cargo return to Earth.

ILC Dover's Role in IAD Development
ILC is the leader for advanced flexible materials, manufacturing technologies, and embedded electronics technologies for IAD's. Robust material systems have been tested that use multifunction insulation layers to provide thermal protection for the IAD structure and the payload of the reentry vehicle. We have specialized facilities and machinery for the assembly and test of gas containment, structural, and insulation materials and assemblies.

To date, there has been only one successful IAD flight at hypersonic conditions, IRVE-II. ILC worked closely with NASA to support design, system integration, and testing for the IRVE decelerator. The IRVE-II flight article and all engineering development units were manufactured at ILC's state of the art manufacturing facility in Frederica, DE.

Additionally, ILC has supported NASA in the development and fabrication of Tension Cone and Isotensoid wind tunnel test articles under the PAIDAE program. These wind tunnel tests have been used by NASA and Georgia Tech Institute of Technology to further the understanding of aerodynamic flows and finite element modeling of decelerators within various mach regimes.

ILC Dover's Decelerator Program Summary

Year Title Description Technology
1992 CEM Ballute Design and production of weapon systems - 10 million produced at ILC TRL 9
1994 BAT Ballute Design and production for weapons systems, Army TRL 9
1999 Tucked Back Ballute Study for LMSSC Space Systems TRL 2
2002 FASM Decelerator Study and flight demonstration, Army TRL 6
2002 Morphing Ballute Study for an Aerospace Company TRL 2
2002 Lifting Body Ballute Study for an Aerospace Company TRL 2
2003 SMD Ballute Study and flight demonstration, Boeing TRL 6
2003 AS&T Ballute Study for access to station, Aerospace Company TRL 2
2003 Admiral Ballute Study and wind tunnel testing, Aerospace Company TRL 5
2006 Dominator Decelerator Study and prototype fabrication, Boeing TRL 4
2005 ISP Inflatable Aeroshell Study and design/analysis, Lockheed Martin TRL 2
2006 ISP Ballute Study and wind tunnel testing, Ball Aerospace TRL 3
2004 Mars Micro Ballute Study and prototype fabrication, JPL TRL 3
2005 GOLD Deorbiting Decelerator Study and analysis, DARPA TRL 3
2006 AIRS Offset Ballute Study design and analysis, JSC/LaRC TRL 2
2007 ARIES I Decelerator Study for recovery system, ATK TRL 2
2007 ES&RT Ballute Study and seam sample testing, Ball Aerospace TRL 2-3
2007 IRVE I Decelerator Test flight, LaRC, Experiment Failed TRL 6
2008 PAE-DAI Testing Wind tunnel test article and materials, LaRC TRL 3-4
2008 Hypersonic Payload Decelerator Study for recovery system TRL 2
2009 IRVE II Decelerator Successful Test flight, LaRC TRL 7
2009 Rapid Eye Inflatable Decelerator Phase 1 Study - Orbital TRL 3
2009 Rapid Eye Inflatable Decelerator Phase 1 Study - Lockheed Martin TRL 3
2009 Rapid Eye Inflatable Decelerator Phase 1 Study - Boeing TRL 3
2009 Rapid Eye Inflatable Decelerator Phase 1 Study - Northrop Grumman TRL 3
2009 Advance Materials NRA, HMMES Material development and prototype fabrication, LaRC TRL 3-4

ISP Aerocapture

IRVE Hypersonic Decelerator Flight Test
PAI-DAE Atmoshpheric Decelerator Technology (ADT)

Isotensoid IAD

Innovative Design Studies