SpaceX Shares Thrilling Video of Crew Dragon Parachute Test

Eloise Marshall
November 7, 2019

In a video posted to SpaceX's Twitter account this weekend, the company's Crew Dragon capsule - which is created to shuttle astronauts to the International Space Station - can be seen successfully completing a crucial test of its parachute.

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. Most recent test demonstrated the parachute system's ability to land the spacecraft safely in the unlikely event that one of the four main parachutes fails, ' the tweet reads.

"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.

During the test, which can be seen in the video above that SpaceX shared on Twitter, the company attempted to land the craft with its fourth parachute intentionally not deploying, to mimic a real-life parachute failure. "So that seems like where the behavior of the parachutes is consistent, is across 10 successful tests".

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In a meeting with NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, Musk said that Crew Dragon could be ready for its first crewed "Demo-2" test flight in Q1 of 2020.

Crew Dragon's test flight to the ISS proved that privately-funded and built spacecraft are viable for crewed missions, but later hiccups, including one that obliterated the same ship on the test pad at a later date, showed further fine-tuning needs to be made.

The Mark 3 parachutes use Zylon rather than nylon for the lines used in the chute, which is said to be about three times stronger than nylon.

SpaceX has demonstrated that its latest Mark 3 Crew Dragon parachutes will work even if things don't go quite to plan. In addition to this new material, the parachutes are also sporting new stitching patterns in the fabric. SpaceX's test will be a ground-baed test filing of the Crew Dragon's abort engines, which is set to happen as early as Wednesday.

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