Space

January 22, 2014

NASA Commercial Crew Partner SpaceX tests Dragon parachute system

nasa-spaceX
Engineers and safety specialists from NASA and Space Exploration Technologies gathered in Morro Bay, Calif., in late December to demonstrate how the company’s Dragon spacecraft’s parachute system would function in the event of an emergency on the launch pad or during ascent.

The test was part of an optional milestone under NASA’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative and approved by the agency in August. Through the Commercial Crew Program, SpaceX is one of NASA’s commercial partners working to develop a new generation of U.S. spacecraft and rockets capable of transporting humans to and from low-Earth orbit from American soil. NASA intends to use such commercial systems to fly U.S. astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

The 12,000-pound test craft was lifted 8,000 feet above sea level by an Erickson Sky Crane helicopter and flown over the Pacific Ocean. Following Dragon’s release, two drogue parachutes were released from the top of the spacecraft to slow its decent, before the three main parachutes deployed. The craft splashed down and was quickly recovered by the Sky Crane and carried back to shore.

“The parachute test is essential for the commercial crew effort because it helps us better understand how SpaceX’s system performs as it safely returns crew,” said Jon Cowart, NASA Partner Integration deputy manager working with SpaceX. “Like all of our partners, SpaceX continues to provide innovative solutions based on NASA’s lessons learned that could make spaceflight safer.”

During a normal spacecraft landing, the parachutes will be aided by the Dragonís SuperDraco thrusters to provide a soft controlled landing. This redundancy on both the parachutes and thrusters is designed to ensure safe landings for crews.

“SpaceX is working diligently to make the Dragon spacecraft the safest vehicle ever flown,” said Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX. “The parachute system is an integral part of Dragonís ability to provide a safe landing for nominal and abort conditions — with this successful test we are well-positioned to execute a full end-to-end test of the launch escape system later this year.”

The parachute test puts SpaceX a step closer to launch abort system tests. The company currently is manufacturing the spacecraft and rocket to be used for these flight tests.

SpaceX is on track to complete all 15 of its CCiCap milestones in 2014. All of NASA’s industry partners, including SpaceX, continue to meet their established milestones in developing commercial crew transportation capabilities.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Orbital completes third cargo delivery mission to ISS

Orbital Sciences Corporation, one of the world’s leading space technology companies, announced Aug. 18 the successful completion of its third cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station in the past 10 months, including the initial demonstration flight completed in October 2013 and the first two operational missions under the company’s $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply...
 
 

NASA selects Texas State University to provide educator professional development

NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project has awarded approximately $15 million in a new, five-year cooperative agreement to Texas State University at San Marcos to provide educator professional development using NASA-related science, technology, engineering and math content. The selection is in response to an Education Opportunities in NASA STEM ñ Educator Professional D...
 
 
Photograph courtesy of NASA/SAO/CXC/R. Margutti et al

NASA’s Chandra Observatory searches for trigger of nearby supernova

Photograph courtesy of NASA/SAO/CXC/R. Margutti et al NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory is helping determine what caused SN 2014J, one of the closest supernovas discovered in decades. By comparing X-ray data taken before and a...
 

 
NASA photograph

NASA to investigate climate impacts of Arctic sea ice loss

NASA photograph NASA’s C-130 aircraft will carry scientists over the Arctic starting this month from northern Greenland and Fairbanks, Alaska. A new NASA field campaign will begin flights over the Arctic this summer to st...
 
 
Photograph courtesy of Andrew Westphal, UC Berkeley

Stardust team reports discovery of first potential interstellar space particles

Photograph courtesy of Andrew Westphal, UC Berkeley The largest interstellar dust track found in the Stardust aerogel collectors was this 35 micron-long hole produced by a 3 picogram mote that was probably traveling so fast tha...
 
 
Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s NuSTAR sees rare blurring of black hole light

Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech The regions around supermassive black holes shine brightly in X-rays. Some of this radiation comes from a surrounding disk, and most comes from the corona, pictured here as the white light at ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>