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58 votes
Accepted

What skipped test on Genesis would have detected the backwards-inserted accelerometer which didn't deploy the parachute?

The planned test was a centrifuge test. They were going to take the entry vehicle up past the 10-g mark and back down. According to the JPL Mission Manager, who was my boss at the time, the g-switch ...
Tom Spilker's user avatar
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42 votes
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Why does Blue Origin claim Virgin Galactic's spaceplane doesn’t have an escape system whereas Virgin Galactic's passengers are wearing parachutes?

First of all, it should be clear that this infographic is by no means objective; it's designed to put SS2 in the worst possible light, and New Shepard in the best. That said, an "escape system&...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
39 votes

Why do you need a heat shield on Mars entry if the atmosphere is so thin?

There is an atmosphere on Mars. An atmosphere ~1% as thick as Earth's sounds like it ought to 'basically not count as an atmosphere' but 1% earth's atmosphere is still quite a lot of gas! The pressure ...
Ingolifs's user avatar
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37 votes
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Could one skydive from a space capsule that just had a parachute failure during re-entry?

Would you even be able to open the door? It would depend on the capsule, but since the Apollo 1 fire, one expects crewed American capsules to have explosively-jettisoned hatches that can be ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
26 votes
Accepted

Why is InSight's nylon parachute a "soft good"?

I'm pretty sure that by "soft good" he means it's an element of the system that can't be completely constrained from a simulation or engineering standpoint, in this case fabric. If you're working with ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
  • 19.1k
24 votes

Why no parachutes in the Orion AA2 abort test?

The test they were doing didn’t require parachutes. Data-taking ended right after the capsule separated from the tower. Since the capsule’s behavior after that was not part of the test, it could be an ...
Bob Jacobsen's user avatar
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19 votes
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Why does the Soyuz parachute pulsate?

Thanks to the paper linked by Jan Doggen in the comments we can say that it is a natural outcome of the shape of the parachute. In particular, the shape, together with the near absence of wind and ...
Federico's user avatar
  • 980
18 votes

How does a landing spacecraft control main parachute inflation?

I don't know what Dragon uses, but large air-drop parachutes use a "reefing" technique. There's a "reefing line" around the circumference of the parachute that controls its expansion: The (...
Bob Jacobsen's user avatar
  • 12.7k
17 votes
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In multiple parachutes, is each offset by a weight/hole?

Those dark objects are the deployment bags which contained the main parachutes prior to inflation. Source: The Apollo Parachute Landing System Also from Apollo 15 Main Parachute Failure Anomaly ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
17 votes

Why do you need a heat shield on Mars entry if the atmosphere is so thin?

An atmosphere does not need to be very thick to heat up a reentry vehicle significantly. And it should be noted that reentry vehicles entering the Earth's atmosphere get heated up at a pretty high ...
ikrase's user avatar
  • 8,874
16 votes

Could one skydive from a space capsule that just had a parachute failure during re-entry?

The Red Bull Stratos jump was done from about 39km up (high altitude balloon). It was fairly straightforward, in that he jumped and opened a parachute. His max speed was just above mach 1 (800mph/...
Machavity's user avatar
  • 7,905
15 votes

Why does the Soyuz parachute pulsate?

It is called parachute "breathing", and is quite common. It is a natural consequence of the flexibility of the parachute shape. It is initiated in the initial inflation, where the parachute will ...
Mark Adler's user avatar
  • 58.2k
15 votes

Why no parachutes in the Orion AA2 abort test?

From the article: Tuesday’s launch was more focused on testing the launch abort system itself. The parachutes on Orion have been tested 47 times.
ulatekh's user avatar
  • 251
13 votes
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What happens to Insight's parachute on Mars?

I'm pretty sure it will be like the Phoenix lander. Collectively that part of the lander is referred to as the "Backshell". This is the image of Phoenix of the hardware on the surface. This is ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
13 votes

Why can't you just parachute down right from orbit?

Another factor: Acme delivers you an unobtanium chute that can take all the forces involved. What happens? Your objective is hard braking at high altitude. You slow down, you're not in orbit ...
Loren Pechtel's user avatar
12 votes

Why can't you just parachute down right from orbit?

(Handwavy instead of quantitative... Would be nice to have some better numbers) The fundamental reason is that there are currently only three techniques to keep you or your craft from hitting the ...
BowlOfRed's user avatar
  • 6,882
12 votes
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What makes it so hard to precisely land a fairing?

The fairing itself is large, (a pair can enclose a school bus sized payload) and is very light, and not very aerodynamic when split into two halves. When joined together it is very aerodynamic, when ...
geoffc's user avatar
  • 79.6k
12 votes

Why no parachutes in the Orion AA2 abort test?

This is not a complete answer as I do not know the status of the parachute development, but here are some reasons a parachute is not needed: Ejected Data Recorders: These ~20 data recorders, ...
CourageousPotato's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

Why no parachutes in the Orion AA2 abort test?

Here's an official response: NASA has already fully qualified the parachute system for flights with crew through an extensive series of 17 developmental tests and 8 qualification tests completed at ...
Everyday Astronaut's user avatar
11 votes

What happens to Insight's parachute on Mars?

During the parachute descent, InSight's trajectory is at an angle to the vertical. After the backshell and parachute separate, the engines fire, leveling the craft. This allows some horizontal ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 48k
11 votes
Accepted

How exactly were solid-fuel rockets added to the parachute lines of the Voskhod capsule?

I found a diagram that explains it better than words. The landing rocket module was at the base of the parachute lines, not above them: The linkage appears to be hinged, but I'm guessing it's a solid ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
11 votes

Why do you need a heat shield on Mars entry if the atmosphere is so thin?

Already a lot of good answers, so just one additional aspect to the explanation: When orbiting Mars, the vehicle has a lot of kinetic energy that has to be reduced to zero before landing. Coming from ...
Ralf Kleberhoff's user avatar
9 votes

Why does Blue Origin claim Virgin Galactic's spaceplane doesn’t have an escape system whereas Virgin Galactic's passengers are wearing parachutes?

Because this isn't an informational infographic. This is an ad. And, as such, it is deliberately skewed to paint the advertised product in the best possible light, while disparaging the competing ...
HiddenWindshield's user avatar
8 votes

Why can't you just parachute down right from orbit?

You want to "do most of the braking very high up in the atmosphere where the density is still extremely low" using a parachute? If you want to leave orbit and stay high up in the atmosphere until the ...
Uwe's user avatar
  • 49k
7 votes
Accepted

How does a landing spacecraft control main parachute inflation?

Concerning the part of the question, "How is this sequence timed and driven? Is it just aerodynamic forces, are there any control strings or is it something different?" there are passive methods and ...
Tom Spilker's user avatar
  • 18.3k
7 votes

Why do you need a heat shield on Mars entry if the atmosphere is so thin?

The 'plasma blackout', where the spacecraft is covered in a blazing ball of fire and the heatshield plays the most important role, is between 90 and 55km altitude (300k-180k ft): Pressure ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 55k
7 votes

Why did Hayabusa-2's capsule's parachute have transparent panels?

Assuming that the design of the parachute was the same as that used on the first Hayabusa, the section you mention is actually netting. The following description of the parachute was given when the ...
AlphaD's user avatar
  • 276
6 votes

Why haven't backup parachutes been used for spacecraft?

Answer: Redundant chutes are used rather than back-up chutes because (for a given safety factor) they are lighter. As an example, let’s approximate that both the weight and the effectiveness of chutes ...
Woody's user avatar
  • 22.1k
6 votes
Accepted

Would a balloon pop if dropped from space?

Special high-altitude balloons are used to do research or other measurements (weather balloons) in the higher atmosphere, by carrying sensors. Those are especially made to expand much more that your ...
Hans's user avatar
  • 3,566
6 votes

Are there any studies or technology envisioned for Mars entry and landing without a parachute?

Yes The SpaceX Starship is designed to land on Mars by aerobraking, then using retro-propulsion to land. After re-fueling, Starship would then be able to take off again and return to Earth. No ...
Dan Hanson's user avatar
  • 2,218

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