Science NASA test of hypersonic inflatable heat shield a success (+video)

The mushroom-like Inflatable Re-entry Vehicle Experiment 3 performed as expected as it plunged through the Earth's atmosphere and splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean. 

Langley/Kathy Barnstorff/NASA

NASA launched a novel new heat shield prototype on a successful test flight Monday (July 23), a mission that sent a high-tech space balloon streaking through Earth's atmosphere at hypersonic speeds of up Mach 10.