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Klaus Space conducts successful IAD demonstration

Inflatable Atmospheric Decelerator (IAD). Credit: Klaus Space Transportation

Edinburgh, 31 December 2021. – Start-up company, Klaus Space Transportation, announced it has successfully conducted a drop test of a newly developed Inflatable Atmospheric Decelerator (IAD) prototype this month.

Founded just in October, Klaus’ aim is to make space transportation sustainable, available, and cost-efficient. The German company’s focus is on scalable cargo transport from space back to Earth without using any fuel.

The drop-test demonstrated reliable inflation of the IAD and acceptable structural loads at landing, the company said. The third-generation prototype and an attached miniaturised rocket first stage were dropped from 600 m from a helicopter. The activated IAD stabilized and decelerated the rocket stage for safe landing in water and successful recovery afterwards. Data from Inertial Measurement Units attached to the rocket model is currently under analysis by experts at Airbus Defence & Space. 

IADs were pioneered by NASA and they function as parachutes, environmental protectors, and heat shields during re-entry and splashdown. Klaus is planning to use atmospheric air to inflate the IAD so that they can be lighter and more scalable. Further demonstrations in plasma wind channel tests are expected in 2022.

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