Wednesday, 20 November, 2019

SpaceX achieves key milestone in safety testing of Crew Dragon spacecraft

SpaceX nails thirteenth back-to-back safety test of Crew Dragon parachute systems SpaceX Shares Thrilling Video of Crew Dragon Parachute Test
Sandra Phillips | 07 November, 2019, 08:27

With its latest successful test, SpaceX showed that its Mark 3 Crew Dragon parachutes would be able to hold their weight even if not all goes according to plan. SpaceX says it has now conducted 13 of these tests successfully, marking the occasion by sharing a video of the chutes in action on Twitter.

The latest test was again created to test the redundancy of the system, demonstrating its ability to safely land the Crew Dragon when only three of the four parachutes are working.

The parachutes now look substantially different from the ones SpaceX first tested.

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.

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In the test, the capsule was dropped from a plane and landed safely using only three of its four parachutes.

With all of this testing, the parachutes have been improved in a number of ways. Instead of nylon on the straps, they now use "Zylon" a stronger polymer material developed by Stanford University. In this test, one of the four parachutes was purposefully not deployed. SpaceX also updated the stitching pattern to optimize the load balance on the new parachutes.

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.

In the May test, "the three remaining chutes did not operate properly", he added. It's interesting to watch the parachutes as the test sled nears the ground. SpaceX had planned a static-fire test of the Crew Dragon's for November 2, though this appears to have been pushed back with no clear timeline. During the last such test in April, an anomaly caused an uncrewed capsule to explode.

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