The Use of Inflatable Structures for Re-entry of Orbiting Vehicles 901835

Inflatable recovery systems offer the unique advantage that a large high-drag shape can be stored initially in a relatively small package. The resulting shapes decelerate rapidly with lower heating inputs than other types of re-entry vehicles. Recent developments have led to some lightweight materials that, with little thermal protection, can withstand the heating inputs to such vehicles. As a result, inflatable recovery vehicles offer a simple, reliable and economical way to return various vehicles from orbit. This paper examines the application of this concept to a large and a small vehicle with the accompanying dynamics that might be expected. More complex systems could extend the concept to emergency personnel escape systems, payload abort and satellite recovery systems.


Subscribers can view annotate, and download all of SAE's content. Learn More »


Members save up to 43% off list price.
Login to see discount.
Special Offer: With TechSelect, you decide what SAE Technical Papers you need, when you need them, and how much you want to pay.