Spacecraft Parachutes as the First Ever Commercial Crew Flights Had Been Placed Into Test

 

The SpaceX had performed a drop test using its Crew Dragon parachutes. The Commercial Crew Program of NASA had taken a single step closer to the crewed flight as the 2 main contractor that conducts their latest tests of spacecraft parachute system. This will employ the private contractors as a transport astronaut to International Space Station. 

These two main contractors are the Space Exploration Technologies Corp (also known as SpaceX), together with its own Crew Dragon capsule, and the other one is The Boeing Company, together with its own CST-100 Starliner. 

As for the Starliner parachute test, the latest one had just happened this February when the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III had conceded out their dart-shaped bed module test and then released it in Yuma, Arizona. It tests the main system of the parachutes, as well as the flight drogue. Boeing’s Starliner is planning for two other tests using the dart module. 

After this testing, according to NASA, Boeing is planning to conduct 3 reliability tests with the use of high-fidelity capsule stimulator that will exactly follow the aerodynamics and mass of the CST-100, and use a balloon helium for lifting. This coming May, Boeing would conduct 3rd of the five scheduled tests with the help again, of balloon helium. Lots of tests were performed in order to stimulate different kinds of deployment speed, as well as the impacts of different demands of weight. 

As with the SpaceX, they have their recent parachute test for the spacecraft Crew Dragon, which happened last March 4. The Lockheed C-130 rocket had carried the vehicle for testing to 25,000 feet altitude and then dropped the vehicle. 

Only one of its two drogue chutes are deployed so the off-nominal circumstance will be stimulated. After that, the deployment stage is skipped in one of its four parachutes. The test’s objective according to NASA is to show that the capsule can possibly make a safe landing even it is under that kind of situation. This test is then followed by another test with a different situation. 

When it comes to the parachute testing, according to Kathy Launders, the one who runs the Commercial Crew Program, both main contractors are making a great stride and the data they had collected are important to make sure their systems are working as expected. 

Both of these contractors are on a hope to send out astronauts above in space in as early as next year. But they are targeting to have the initial unscrewed test before the current year ends.