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Research Tasks

Ultralightweight, Inflatable, Thin Film Ballutes for Earth Return from the Moon

This effort will develop lightweight, inflatable ballutes for use in return of humans or cargo from the Moon. This innovative concept involves deployment of a large, lightweight, inflatable aerodynamic decelerator whose large drag area allows the spacecraft to decelerate at very low densities high in the Earth's atmosphere. This "fly higher, fly lighter" concept provides the required deceleration for entry and aerocapture missions with heat rates low enough such that no thermal protection system (TPS) is required. This technology can also be applied to the related problems of aeroentry and aerocapture at Mars using either robotic or crewed vehicles.
Point of Contact: Jeffery Hall