UPHAM, N.M. – NASA technology designed to protect spacecraft from heat and pressure when entering a planet’s atmosphere will be launched from Spaceport America as part of testing.
NASA said Friday the system will be aboard a suborbital rocket being launched Wednesday by UP Aerospace at the spaceport in New Mexico. Once the rocket reaches space, the umbrella-like shield will deploy.
The shield is made from woven carbon fabric and supported by semi-rigid ribs. NASA says it would allow exploratory spacecraft larger than the Curiosity rover to successfully land on other planets within the solar system.
The shield was designed and built by NASA’s Ames Research Center in California.
As part of the launch, NASA also will be testing other technology for launch vehicles and measuring the internal environment of suborbital vehicles that are carrying experiments.