SpaceX Shares Thrilling Video of Crew Dragon Parachute Test


SpaceX tested the third iteration of the parachute system on its Crew Dragon human spacecraft.

In a Twitter post by SpaceX after the successful test, a video shows the system able to perform normally even if one of the four parachutes in the system was malfunctioning.

"To be clear, we've only done 1 multi-parachute test of Mk3 design, so 9 more left to reach 10 successful tests in a row", Musk tweeted on Monday. The test will see that it can be done successfully if emergency arises following liftoff.

The company carried out a pad abort test using the redesigned parachutes in September, where the vehicle tumbles at a low altitude, before the parachute opens and stabilizes the plummeting spacecraft.

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Before that happens, however, SpaceX still has to perform static fire tests of the Crew Dragon abort engine.

Regarding Crew Dragon's development, Space X highlighted the importance of the safety tests during an official meeting at the company headquarters, moderate by Jim Bridenstine and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. It's visibly obvious that they've been modified, as their once relatively simple, striped appearance has changed and the parachutes now look nearly like large jellyfish in the sky. The material, developed by researchers at Stanford University, is stronger than nylon and is used in the straps on the latest model of the parachutes. The chutes also have a new stitching pattern to more evenly distribute the loads.

As the competition readies to launch its own capsule, SpaceX announced over the weekend that testing of the parachute system that is supposed to land the capsule safely is progressing. It's interesting to watch the parachutes as the test sled nears the ground. While it might seem like a routine next step, an uncrewed capsule exploded during the same test just a few months ago in April. The company later said a faulty valve led to the explosion and corrective measures are in place.