NASA’s Adaptable Deployable Entry Placement Technology which is popularly known as ADEPT is no ordinary umbrella. ADEPT is a foldable device that can be opened to make a round, rigid heat shield, called an aeroshell. This astonishing technology could squeeze a heat shield into a rocket with a larger diameter where the design may someday deliver a much larger number of payloads to planetary surfaces than the current possible system.
Spacecraft usually take the speeds of tens of thousands of miles per hour which is screaming fast to approach the planet. At the time of entering a planet’s atmosphere, the speed gets compressed under atmospheric gas, creating pressure shock and generates immense heat right in front of the spacecraft.
The ADEPT advanced technology was developed at Ames, the research and innovation center that works on thermal protection system technologies. This Aeroshells slows down spacecraft during entry and protects them from heat. Here ADEPT could be a key to future to NASA missions but that requires extra-large aeroshells to protect spacecraft that is destinated to land on the surface of other planets without requiring larger rockets.
This mechanical aeroshell is designed like an umbrella where it uses flexible 3D woven carbon fabric skin that is stretched over deployable ribs and struts, which become rigid when fully flexed. This carbon fabric skin serves as the primary component of the entry and protects its structural.
Carbon is a highly resistant material for high-temperature applications. Here the carbon fabric plays a major breakthrough by enabling this technology, where it utilizes pure carbon yarns that are woven three-dimensionally to evaluate a very durable surface. These are the reasons why NASA has a huge expectation towards Foldable Heat Shield.