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IRDT-Fregat (Heatshield not deployed)

IRDT-Fregat (1st cascade of heatshield deployed)

IRDT (Inflatable Re-Entry and Descent Technology) is a new technology to return payloads from orbit without a heavy heatshield and parachute system. A inflatable cone provides protection during reentry and a second inflatable extension of the cone reduces the speed further for a safe landing.

The first test flight orbited the IRDT 1 payload and the Fregat stage, which was also equipped with an IRDT shield. It was planned to bring back the stage with this device for investigation of possible reuse, but it has not been found, after it descended in a snow storm. Possibly it has been found by scavengers and sold as scrap metal.

Nation: Russia, Europe
Type / Application: Inflatable heatshield technology
Operator: ESA
Contractors: NPO Lavochkin
Equipment: IRDT shield
Configuration: Fregat stage with inflatable heatshield
Power: Batteries
Orbit: 581 km × 604 km, 64.9
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
IRDT-Fregat 2000-009B 08.02.2000 Ba LC-31/6 Soyuz-U Fregat with IRDT 1, Gruzovoy Maket