Terminal Velocity aerospace 1

On Thursday, we were able to bounce up to Atlanta. Georgia to check out Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) Technology Showcase. There were some really interesting products and software, but Terminal Velocity Aerospace really stood out, perhaps owing to the fact that I watched ‘Gravity’ the night before. Anyhow, Terminal Velocity Aerospace, “offers small protective devices for data collection during reentry breakup events, and for safe return of small payloads from space.”1


Adam SIdor, the Terminal Velocity representative onsite for the ATDC Tech Showcase, likened their ReEntry Devices devices to a black box, designed to withstand any and every external force. Currently, Terminal Velocity is focused on building ReEntry Devices for two separate purposes: data recording and payload return. Payload return is pretty easy to understand – it allows astronauts the ability to return time-sensitive payloads quickly. The data recording aspect, however, seemed a bit odd at first. Adam told us a bit about the company’s goals and products in the video below, but data recording did not really come up. However, Terminal Velocity has an excellent passage on their website describing the need for such a product:

More than 40 large, human-made, uncontrolled objects reenter Earth’s atmosphere every year, with 10 – 40 percent of that object’s mass actually striking the ground. While most of this debris falls harmlessly in the ocean or uninhabited areas, there is a measurable risk to people and property, especially in cases where a failure results in reentry in an unintended manner. Lacking an ability to collect first-hand data during a reentry, our knowledge of how reentry and breakup occur is limited. Better data is needed to improve the prediction models of the reentry safety, scientific research, and spacecraft design communities.2

Check out our interview with Terminal Velocity Aerospace:

  1. Terminal Velocity Aerospace Press Release, “Terminal Velocity Aerospace Offers Reentry Services to Enhance Safety and Promote Space Utilization, (PDF)“July 10, 2012.  
  2. Terminal Velocity Website “RED Data”