NASA Successfully Tests Parachute for Ares Rocket

March 2, 2009

( -- NASA and industry engineers successfully completed the second drop test of a drogue parachute for the Ares I rocket. The test took place Feb. 28 at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground near Yuma, Ariz.

The Ares I, the first launch vehicle in NASA's Constellation Program, will send explorers to the International Space Station, the moon and beyond in coming decades. The drogue parachute is a vital element of the rocket's deceleration system; it is designed to slow the rapid descent of the spent first-stage motor that will be jettisoned by the Ares I during its climb to space. The parachute will permit recovery of the reusable first-stage motor for use on future Ares I flights. The first-stage solid rocket motor will power the Ares I rocket for the first two minutes of launch.

This was the seventh in an ongoing series of flight tests supporting development of the Ares I parachute recovery system, which includes a pilot chute, drogue and three main parachutes. Researchers dropped the 68-foot-diameter drogue parachute and its 50,000-pound load, which simulates the rocket's spent first-stage motor, from a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft flying at an altitude of 25,000 feet. The parachute and all test hardware functioned properly and landed safely.

The parachutes being developed for the Ares I recovery system are similar to those used for the four-segment space shuttle boosters, but they have been redesigned to accommodate new requirements of the Ares I first stage. The Ares I will have a five-segment solid rocket booster that will move faster and fall from a higher altitude than the shuttle boosters.

Engineers from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manage the team that conducted the test. ATK Launch Systems near Promontory, Utah, is the prime contractor for the first stage booster. ATK's subcontractor, United Space Alliance of Houston, is responsible for design, development and testing of the parachutes at its facilities at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston manages the Constellation Program, which includes the Ares I rocket, the Ares V heavy-lift launch vehicle, the Orion crew spacecraft and the Altair lunar lander. Marshall manages the Ares Projects. The U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground provides the test range, support facilities and equipment to NASA for parachute testing.

Provided by NASA

Explore further: NASA tests Orion's fate during parachute failure scenario

Related Stories

NASA tests Orion's fate during parachute failure scenario

August 31, 2015

What would happen to the astronaut crews aboard NASA's Orion deep space capsule in the event of parachute failures in the final moments before splashdown upon returning from weeks to years long forays to the Moon, Asteroids ...

A canopy of confidence: Orion's parachutes

September 12, 2012

(—They were perhaps some of the most visible images of the end of each Apollo mission: Giant orange and white parachutes unfurled high above the spacecraft, gently descending toward the ocean. As NASA continues ...

Ares Super-chute

March 16, 2009

NASA and U.S. Air Force test pilots have just dropped a 50,000-pound "dummy" rocket booster on the Arizona desert--and stopped it before it crashed. It's all part of NASA's plan to return to the Moon.

NASA to Test World's Largest Rocket Parachutes for Ares I

May 18, 2009

( -- With Memorial Day just around the corner, NASA plans a spectacular aerial display May 20 of the newly designed parachute recovery system for its Ares I rocket. The centerpieces for the test are the three ...

Recommended for you

A blue, neptune-size exoplanet around a red dwarf star

November 25, 2015

A team of astronomers have used the LCOGT network to detect light scattered by tiny particles (called Rayleigh scattering), through the atmosphere of a Neptune-size transiting exoplanet. This suggests a blue sky on this world ...

The hottest white dwarf in the Galaxy

November 25, 2015

Astronomers at the Universities of Tübingen and Potsdam have identified the hottest white dwarf ever discovered in our Galaxy. With a temperature of 250,000 degrees Celsius, this dying star at the outskirts of the Milky ...

Aging star's weight loss secret revealed

November 25, 2015

A team of astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope has captured the most detailed images ever of the hypergiant star VY Canis Majoris. These observations show how the unexpectedly large size of the particles of dust surrounding ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.