NASA released some footage to the general public revealing that the SpaceX parachutes were successfully tested. The Crew Dragon system for landing developed by Elon Musk’s company, Space X was tested in Coolidge, Arizona and the results were more than satisfying.
SpaceX Parachutes Were Successfully Tested
A cargo aircraft model C-130 carried the parachute assembly thousands of feet in the air in order for the drop test to be carried out. In place of an actual Crew Dragon craft, SpaceX used a weight that was similar in weight and form to the actual spacecraft. The parachutes were rigged to the weight to deploy in similar conditions as they would in the actual Crew Dragon mission to return astronauts from the ISS.
The test did not include all of the parachute-based landing mechanism developed by SpaceX. The additional parachutes that are meant to open when the full landing will take place were not added to the experiment because the drogue parachutes will be enabled at an altitude that was not consistent with the one from which the weight was dropped.
Nonetheless, the tests were a success, meaning that the landing mechanism devised by SpaceX will some bring back home the astronauts that serve on the ISS.
This Is Not the First Parachute Test Performed by Space X
But this is not the first parachute test performed by SpaceX. In the last month of 2013, Elon Musk’s program performed an early drop test for the landing mechanism. The test that was performed then did not include the modification made for human transport. It was just meant to see how the parachutes react in real-life conditions. The Dragon Crew module was designed afterwards.
The 2013 test included only three main parachutes and two drogue ones. Since then, the Crew Dragon received four main parachutes in order to make the descent more stable.
The Crew Dragon Will Land the Astronauts in the Ocean
For now, the Crew Dragon will land the astronauts in the ocean, a technique that was also used in the Apollo missions. But since the SpaceX parachutes were successfully tested, the company is already working on a propulsion system that will not make swimming a mandatory skill for astronauts.
Last November the Crew Dragon’s SuperDraco super engines were also put to the test. After the experiments, SpaceX noted the fact that a landing strategy using propulsion is important in the development of a landing mechanism that does not involve the surface of the ocean.
NASA declared that additional tests will be made, as they are trying to replicate real-life landing conditions as best as they can.
If everything goes as smooth as the SpaceX parachutes tests, NASA estimates that the Crew Dragon will be bringing back the astronauts from the ISS as soon as 2017.
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