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SpaceX first stage recovery with inflatable hyper-sonic decelerator flight experiment;2015 NASA SBIR proposal

April 28, 2014

SpaceX first stage recovery with inflatable hyper-sonic decelerator flight experiment;2015 NASA SBIR proposal Edit,

EDIT  4 may 2014    “Research paper attached below studied a 1.5 meter  inflatable hyper-sonic decelerator with ballistic travel or no propulsive breaking  and using SpaceX first stage mass.  JasonASW3 on NASASPACEFLIGHT mentions  inflatable hyper-sonic decelerators on the first stage recovery at down range locations


So far no one in that discussion have put the two together.Some one this NSF thread have made the connection of a ballistic recovery of first stages down range from Texas in Western Florida or even Puerto Rico!” inflatable hyper-sonic decelerator could hold promise to allow for a ballistic recovery of first stages with less fuel consumption then SpaceX current plans , IE add back most of the 30% payload penalty!

does the weight of the system negate the fuel savings? Paper below states the 10 meter system weighs 1.5 tons does the weight of the system add or subtract from the payload weight? Inflate with Ullage gas system possibly land in Florida from Texas AIAA-2014-0631   A commercial off the shelf inflatable hyper-sonic decelerator could be sold to interplanetary missions and might find its uses on SpaceX mars missions. it appears work has started on steerable systems, these could guide returning first stages  before the engine burn. I have just discovered some work has already been done on first stage recovery but with a parachute not a landing as with SpaceX 20130013397  48-The Hypersonic Inflatable Decelerator (HIAD) Mission Applications Study_D. Bose

Down range ballistic trajectory’s with stage recovery leads to ideas concerning a first stage land recovery downrange,


Up Date 7 July 2014

Jon Goff is working on high altitude thin air  Magnetoshell Aerocapture (MAC) I wonder if you could size this system to slow a spaceX first stage on a ballistic non propulsive arc back down through the (upper)atmosphere.could ullage or propellant add to the systems magnetoshell?



Edit 15 July 2014

Paper from last year,


SpaceX Falcon heavy core stage placed into orbit idea as an in space stage! and being discussed here at NASASPCEFLIGHT,






  1. non permalink

    This might be a viable means for recovery of the SpaceX second stage.


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