ISRO has recently demonstrated a new technology with Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (IAD) that is said to be a game-changer with multiple applications for future missions including to Mars and Venus.
About Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (IAD):
IAD is designed and developed by ISRO's Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC).
It was successfully test flown in a 'Rohini' sounding rocket from Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS).
Initially, it was folded and kept inside the payload bay of the rocket.
It was later inflated at around 84 km altitude and descended through the atmosphere with the payload part of the sounding rocket.
The pneumatic system for inflation was developed by ISRO's Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC).
Systematically, the IAD has reduced the velocity of the payload through aerodynamic drag and followed the predicted trajectory.
IAD is made from Kevlar fabric, coated with Polychloroprene.
Since it is made of fabric, IAD can be packed into a small volume of 15 litres, available in the nosecone of the RH300.
When inflated, IAD takes the shape of three concentric toroids with an overall diameter of 1.3m that generates high aerodynamic drag and stability.
Applications of New Technology
According to ISRO, the IAD has huge potential in a variety of space applications including the recovery of spent stages of rockets, landing payloads on Mars or Venus and making space habitats for human space flight missions.
This demonstration opens a gateway for cost-effective spent stage recovery using the Inflatable Aerodynamics Decelerator technology and this IAD technology can also be used in ISRO’s future missions to Venus and Mars.
New elements being tested in the mission:
Apart from testing IAD, new elements and a host of new methodologies were flight tested successfully, including:
Micro Video Imaging System
Software Defined Radio Telemetry-Dual Transmitter (SDRT-DTx)
Acoustics Processing Unit with mini-IMAS (Indigenous MEMS Acoustic Sensors)
New software for wind compensation for TERLS
Modified nosecone separation system
Modified FLSC separation system for RH300
Improved 1s delay detonator for spin rocket separation
Thermally conducting and electrically insulating potting compound ATCAP-75-7030