A giant cone of inner tubes stacked together may someday help cargo, or even people, land on another planet or return to Earth. NASA calls the spacecraft technology HIAD - Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator.
Learn the challenges NASA faces as it works to develop an inflatable spacecraft. Choose the right shape, materials and trajectory to use a HIAD to bring cargo back from space.
To successfully guide an inflatable spacecraft through the super heat of atmospheric re-entry requires the right stuff. If you inflate too early, your shape is incorrect or your material isn’t strong enough - you burn up. And if you get all that right and miss the target the mission is a bust.
Try your hand at landing a HIAD and become a rocket scientist. Advance through all stages at each of the four levels, collecting up to three stars for each successful landing.
The HIAD game challenges players to successfully land a HIAD after launching from the International Space Station and arriving at a target ground point on Earth. To successfully reach the target, players must:
• Undock from the ISS and use thruster control to steer the spacecraft towards the desired de-orbit point
• Inflate the HIAD aeroshell to reduce velocity and protect the payload from the heat of atmospheric re-entry
• Steer the inflated HIAD to the ground target prior to parachute deployment, taking into account the prevailing winds
• Customize the HIAD vehicle to achieve different performance characteristics to improve results
• Multiple spacecraft configurations and options
• Speed and trajectory controls
• In-game introduction
• Four levels of engineering mastery
• Locked levels
• Scoring for each level
• Help section
• Links to related website