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 a leader in 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.
ILC worked closely with NASA to support the launch of IRVE-2, the world's first successful reentry of an IAD. We performed design, system integration, and testing for the IRVE decelerator. ILC is also supporting NASA and JPL on the development of the Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (SIAD-R) that will be flight tested in 2014. Our dedicated engineering staff continues to be at the forefront of many challenging inflatable structures programs. SIAD and the IRVE-2 flight and test articles were manufactured at ILC's state of the art manufacturing facility in Frederica, DE.
Check out the latest successful test in our news section.