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Interesting...

HIAD or Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator ( http://www.nasa.gov/offices/oct/game_changing_technology/game_changing_development/HIAD/index.html ) approximately equal to Ballute or Balloon Parachute ( http://www.nasa.gov/offices/oct/game_changing_technology/game_changing_development/HIAD/index.html ) invented by Goodyear in 1958 as aero drag brakes on bombs are a key technology required to allow a space vehicle to use aero-braking for reentry or killing off excess velocity when arriving back at earth from farther out ( Moon, Mars etc) without using up fuel to rendezvous with a station in orbit.
Anyway here they are testing one out at NASA.
An almost 20-foot (6-meter) diameter inflatable heat shield concept is being prepared for a wind tunnel test at the National Full-Scale Aerodynamic Complex in Moffett Field, Calif. Credit: NASA
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