NASA Conducts Second Test of Main Parachute for Ares Rockets

Nov 16, 2007
NASA Conducts Second Test of Ares Rockets' Main Parachute
Image Credit: NASA/MSFC

NASA and industry engineers successfully tested the main parachute for Constellation Program rockets during a drop test Thursday at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground near Yuma, Ariz.

The parachute system will allow Ares I and Ares V first stage boosters to be recovered and reused. Thursday's test validated the results of an earlier test conducted in September.

"Measuring 150-feet in diameter and weighing 2,000 pounds, this is the biggest chute of its kind that's been tested," said Steve Cook, director of the Ares Projects Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. "With each milestone, we bring ourselves one step closer to further exploring the moon."

Exploring the moon and beyond is the focus of the Constellation Program, which is developing a new family of U.S. launch vehicles, spacecraft and related systems for exploration.

Booster recovery was the focus of the recent test, the second in a series. Outfitted with a 42,000-pound weight to simulate the load of a rocket's first stage, the main parachute was dropped from a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft flying at an altitude of 16,500 feet. The 1-ton parachute and all supporting hardware functioned properly, landing safely approximately three minutes later on the Yuma Proving Ground test range.

During the first main parachute test on Sept. 25, the parachute was dropped from a slightly higher elevation of 17,500 feet, giving NASA engineers the opportunity to monitor parachute performance at a dynamic pressure of 86 pounds per square foot. After the drop's completion, engineers spent several weeks reviewing test data - measuring the parachute's peak loads at opening, determining the canopy expansion rate during the early phase of inflation and measuring the parachute's drag area as it drifted down to Earth.

The Ares first stage booster recovery system is derived from the system NASA uses to recover the space shuttle's solid rocket boosters after launch. The first stage booster for Ares I is similar to the space shuttle's solid rocket booster but has an added fifth segment of propellant, resulting in a heavier load.

The current parachute tests are necessary to allow for differences between the space shuttle's four-segment boosters and the Ares launch vehicles. Testing is scheduled to run through 2010.

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 the design, development and testing of the parachutes at its facilities at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Source: NASA

Explore further: Kazakh satellite to be launched into orbit

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

JPL tests big with a supersonic parachute for Mars

Apr 11, 2014

"You wanna go to Mars, you wanna go big? Then you gotta test big here," says mechanical engineer Michael Meacham, and testing big is exactly what he and other engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have done to develop ...

Hot fire check test of SpaceX first stage engines

Mar 10, 2014

The historic blast off of the first SpaceX rocket equipped with 'landing legs' and also carrying a private Dragon cargo vessel bound for the Space Station is now slated for March 16 following a short and ...

As IPO looms, GoPro enjoys spotlight

Feb 21, 2014

GoPro isn't exactly a household name, but anyone who's spent a little time on YouTube is surely familiar with the thousands of snowboarding, surfing and even skateboarding baby videos that its cameras produce.

In the eye of the beholder

Jan 24, 2014

Astrobiologists are developing 'intelligent' instruments that could help future robotic explorers make their own decisions about where and how to collect data. Although focused on Mars exploration for the ...

NASA Tests Load Limits for Ares I Rocket Main Parachute

Oct 09, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA and industry engineers conducted a design limit load test of the Ares I rocket's main parachute Oct. 8 at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground near Yuma, Ariz. The Ares I is the first ...

Recommended for you

Kazakh satellite to be launched into orbit

5 hours ago

Kazakhstan's first-ever Earth observation satellite is to be fired into orbit next week from the European spaceport in Kourou in French Guiana, launch company Arianespace said.

Habitable exoplanets are bad news for humanity

7 hours ago

Last week, scientists announced the discovery of Kepler-186f, a planet 492 light years away in the Cygnus constellation. Kepler-186f is special because it marks the first planet almost exactly the same size as Earth ...

First-of-its-kind NASA space-weather project

23 hours ago

A NASA scientist is launching a one-to-two-year pilot project this summer that takes advantage of U.S. high-voltage power transmission lines to measure a phenomenon that has caused widespread power outages ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

BigTone
not rated yet Nov 16, 2007
I can't forgive NASA for retiring the Saturn V, they should have just kept improving it. All these other lifters are just BS... NASA complains about their budget, I think they owe us an explanation about why they retired a rocket that never killed any astronauts and would allow for more flexibility in the number of missions, duration, and destination to accomplish almost any effort. The smaller rockets are really just for probes that have very specific orbital trajectories and bombing each other... Can someone from NASA give us some answers about their most retarded decision ever? They better not say "cost" because those numbers are never going to add up if you subtract the number of total launches that would have been required since the 60's both foreign and domestic - plus the cost of developing and these new lifters that can't even come close to the payload capability of the Saturn V.
RBurr
not rated yet Nov 17, 2007
The people to not forgive for the termination of the Saturn's were our then-lawmakers, aided and abetted by a White House that was by turns: crippled, hostile, indifferent, or cheeseparing.
They were all sure the shuttle would be faster, better, cheaper, and more reliable then the hugely expensive, with no perspective task they were suited to do, Saturn family of launchers. That was the advertised situation then, underscored by an absolute Congressional refusal to fund the boondoggle Lunar Program's continuation when money was desperately needed elsewhere (Vietnam and especially the Great Society costs were mushrooming).
So Congress cut the Saturn's to pay for and pave the way for the Shuttles which would be entering into service "real soon now". That was the logic then.
That all of it was hugely shortsighted or horribly, lethally wrong is clear now, in hindsight. However, the NASA seniors, Congressmen, Nixon, and Ford are mostly all dead now...or quite old.
Blaming the dead is silly, trying to learn from them is not. Trying to do better, but probably failing; well, that's being human.
holoman
not rated yet Nov 24, 2007
New Propulsion Technology paper being published.

http://www.nlspro...ster.pdf

Takes a totally new direction for the future.

It will surely rattle the conservative old school establishment.


More news stories

Habitable exoplanets are bad news for humanity

Last week, scientists announced the discovery of Kepler-186f, a planet 492 light years away in the Cygnus constellation. Kepler-186f is special because it marks the first planet almost exactly the same size as Earth ...

Professional and amateur astronomers join forces

(Phys.org) —Long before the term "citizen science" was coined, the field of astronomy has benefited from countless men and women who study the sky in their spare time. These amateur astronomers devote hours ...

Kazakh satellite to be launched into orbit

Kazakhstan's first-ever Earth observation satellite is to be fired into orbit next week from the European spaceport in Kourou in French Guiana, launch company Arianespace said.

First-of-its-kind NASA space-weather project

A NASA scientist is launching a one-to-two-year pilot project this summer that takes advantage of U.S. high-voltage power transmission lines to measure a phenomenon that has caused widespread power outages ...

Study links California drought to global warming

While researchers have sometimes connected weather extremes to man-made global warming, usually it is not done in real time. Now a study is asserting a link between climate change and both the intensifying California drought ...