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

May 18, 2009
During a test drop in late February 2009, the Ares drogue parachute successfully extracted the main parachute, which enabled the recovery of the 50,000-pound test drop article. Image Credit: NASA/ATK

(PhysOrg.com) -- 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 massive main parachutes -- measuring 150 feet in diameter and weighing 1-ton each -- the largest rocket parachute ever manufactured.

The Ares I, the first in NASA's Constellation Program, will send explorers to the , the moon and beyond in coming decades. The main parachutes are a primary element of the rocket's deceleration system, which includes a pilot , drogue parachute and the three main parachutes. Deployed in a cluster, the main parachutes open at the same time, providing the drag necessary to slow the descent of the huge solid for a soft landing in the ocean.

The primary objective of the test is to measure the drag area of the three main parachutes in the cluster configuration. Engineers expect the drag area will be somewhat less than three times the drag area of a single chute. They also will observe the inflation and interaction characteristics of the parachutes while opened in the cluster pattern.

This will be the third test involving the upgraded main parachute, and the first cluster test involving all three parachutes. The test is targeted for 7:30 a.m. CST, at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground near Yuma, Ariz. It will be the eighth in an ongoing series of parachute tests supporting development of the Ares I recovery system. Researchers will drop a 41,500-pound load from a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft flying at an altitude of 10,000 feet.

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 Fla.

Provided by JPL/NASA (news : web)

Explore further: The source of the sky's X-ray glow

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA Successfully Tests Parachute for Ares Rocket

Mar 02, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- 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.

NASA Successfully Tests Parachute for Ares Rocket

Jul 25, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA and industry engineers have successfully completed the first drop test of a drogue parachute for the Ares I rocket. The drogue parachute is designed to slow the rapid descent of the spent first-stage ...

Ares Super-chute

Mar 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.

Ares I Five Segment Development Motor on the Move

Apr 20, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- On April 16, NASA moved the first segment of the Ares I rocket's five segment development motor, or DM-1, from ATK Space System's production facility in Promontory, Utah, to the nearby test ...

Recommended for you

Titan offers clues to atmospheres of hazy planets

16 hours ago

When hazy planets pass across the face of their star, a curious thing happens. Astronomers are not able to see any changes in the range of light coming from the star and planet system.

Having fun with the equation of time

16 hours ago

If you're like us, you might've looked at a globe of the Earth in elementary school long before the days of Google Earth and wondered just what that strange looking figure eight thing on its side was.

The source of the sky's X-ray glow

Jul 27, 2014

In findings that help astrophysicists understand our corner of the galaxy, an international research team has shown that the soft X-ray glow blanketing the sky comes from both inside and outside the solar system.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

dbren
not rated yet May 18, 2009
Groucho: What would you want to jump out of a plane with no parachute?

Chico: Hah! I got pair'a shoes!