Fly Higher, Fly Lighter: ‘Ballute’ Technology Aimed at Moon Missions

NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate is on the lookout for new concepts for its Vision for Space Exploration — the White House-backed Moon, Mars and beyond agenda. And on November 16th, NASA selected a concept from Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation for inflatable thin-film ballutes for return from the Moon. Not only Moon-to-Earth traffic could benefit by using the ballute/aerocapture technique. So too could missions to Mars, as well as future probes to Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, and other distant destinations.