NASA will launch an inflatable aeroshell/heat shield technology demonstrator on a Black Brant XI sounding rocket July 21 from the agency’s launch range at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
NASA researchers are working to develop a new kind of lightweight inflatable spacecraft outer shell to slow and protect vehicles as they blaze through the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds.
Based on the approved range schedule, the rocket is set for launch between 6 and 8 a.m. EDT. The backup launch days are July 22 - 24.
The Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3), developed at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., will be flown on a suborbital flight test ride on a three-stage launch vehicle. Approximately 20 minutes after launch, the test article is projected to splash down in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 100 miles east of Cape Hatteras, NC.
The rocket launch may be visible to residents in the Wallops and southern Chesapeake Bay region.
The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will open at 4:30 a.m. on launch day for viewing the launch.
The launch will be webcast beginning at 5 a.m. on launch day at: http://sites.wff.nasa.gov/webcast and http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-wallops
Launch status can be followed on launch day on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/NASA_Wallops and Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NASAWFF
Launch status also is available on the Wallops launch status line at 757-824-2050.
Further information on the IRVE-3 is available at: http://www.nasa.gov/hiad