SpaceX announced on December 23 that it had been able to complete the tenth successful consecutive test of new parachute design for the Crew Dragon spacecraft, a milestone that NASA communicated that it was vital before agency allows the astronauts to fly on the vehicle. This company said in a tweet that successful tests would take place on December 22, making the 10th consecutive test of new parachute design that the company calls it Mark 3. This test, the company said it does bring it a step closer to safely being able to launch as well as landing the NASA space explorers.
SpaceX went on and moved to Mark 3 design in fall after hitches with Mark 2 design that includes the failed test in April. The company thinks that Mark 2 parachute is very safe, but Mark 3 parachutes are ten times safer; the founder and the Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk added on October 10 if Jim Bridenstine attended it at the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California. He said that they think Mark 3 parachutes are the best parachutes ever. This company began with a series of single parachute tests that do include performing 12 such tests over one week in October. Kathy Lueders, who is the manager of NASA’s agency commercial crew program, went on to say at a meeting of NASA Advisory council human exploration as well as operations committee in late October.
Bridenstine went on to say at October event with Musk that agency, as well as SpaceX, would review the performance of Mark 3 parachutes after it had completed ten tests. He said that they are committed as a team, NASA and the SpaceX, to Mark 3 Parachute that is way superior to Mark 2. He said that they need to get with Mark 3 now consistent as well as repeatable performance. Bridenstine noted that given where they are and resources being deployed on such particular effort, they talked even of doing as many tests as they can between then and end of the year.
Agency has not of late commented on how parachutes tests are going to feed into decisions about approving such parachutes for use on Demo-2 crewed test flight of the spacecraft. The parachutes have been among the critical issues with the development of the Crew Dragon, in particular with what is known as ‘Asymmetric loading’ of parachutes. The problem which Dragon has enlightened the community and forced them to go out and understand what the problem is.