art & engineering

PAIDAE program: Testing of Hyper-sonic thermal protection systems in the 8ft High Temperature Tunnel

The Program for the Advancement of Inflatable Decelerators for Atmospheric Entry (PAIDAE) developed the thermal protection system (TPS) technologies required to build inflatable deployable aeroshells. These materials were later used in the  HIAD (Hypersonic Inflatable Airodynamic Decelorators) program.
Several flexible TPS layups were designed, based on commercially available materials, and tested in NASA Langley Research Center’s 8 Foot High Temperature Tunnel (8ft HTT). 
With the support of my mentor Steve Hughes, I was responsible for the required refurbishment of a shuttle era TPS test sled, the design of the sample mount, the preparation of the test specimens and supporting the testing of the materials.

PAIDAE Sled without Samples installed

Test sample and sled

Test sample

Mounted samples

Select sample after testing

HIAD team
Engineers look at thermal protection system samples in a wind tunnel at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.
Credit: NASA

Del Corso, Joseph A., et al. "Thermal Analysis and Testing of Candidate Materials for PAIDAE Inflatable Aeroshell." 20th AIAA Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems Conference. 2009.
Availible as NASA Technical Report # 20090019746
Hughes, Stephen J., et al. "Deployable aeroshell flexible thermal protection system testing." AIAA Paper 2926 (2009).
Availible as NASA Technial Report # 20090019755
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