Press Release

NASA Conducts First Test of Main Parachute for Ares I Rocket

By SpaceRef Editor
October 2, 2007
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NASA Conducts First Test of Main Parachute for Ares I Rocket

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – NASA and industry engineers successfully completed the first drop test of the main parachute that will help recover the first stage of the Ares I crew launch vehicle. Ares I will carry the NASA’s Orion crew exploration vehicle to space.

The test, conducted on September 25 at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground near Yuma, Ariz., is part of an ongoing series of tests to support the design and development of the Ares I parachute recovery system, which is derived from the system NASA uses to recover the space shuttle’s solid rocket boosters after launch. Tests for the pilot, drogue and three main parachutes will continue through 2010. The next test is scheduled for November 2007.

The main parachute was dropped from a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft with a 40,600-pound load at an altitude of 17,500 feet. The parachute and all test hardware functioned properly and landed safely on the Yuma Proving Ground test range.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., manages the Ares Project and leads the design and development of the solid rocket booster recovery system. ATK Launch Systems near Brigham City, Utah, is the prime contractor for the first stage booster. ATK’s subcontractor, United Space Alliance of Houston, is designing, developing and testing the parachutes at its facilities at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston hosts the Constellation Program and Orion Project Office and provides test instrumentation and support personnel.

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SpaceRef staff editor.