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SpaceX tests parachute system to be used on crew-rated Dragon

Crew Dragon parachute test.

Crew Dragon parachute test. (Click for full view) Image Credit: SpaceX

Hawthorne, California-based Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has successfully completed a parachute test of the NewSpace firm’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. The test took place near Coolidge, Arizona, and was conducted under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. 

Given that an object of the same weight would do just as well as an actual Dragon, SpaceX used a weight simulant during the test. The test article was ferried aloft by a C-130 aircraft and then dropped

If everything continues to go according to plan, the Crew Dragon will return their precious cargo back to Earth by splashing down in the ocean. However, SpaceX has stated its intentions to have the spacecraft carry out ground landings. The Dragon can accommodate this vision via its eight SuperDraco engines which are mounted on the sides of the Dragon.

SpaceX recently conducted a hover test of the SuperDraco system at their facilities located in McGregor, Texas. Dragon is not alone in testing out potentially revolutionary technologies, however.

The company’s Falcon rocket has taken the spotlight and carved a place for itself in aerospace history – by being the first operational booster to deliver a payload to orbit (the 11 Orbcomm OG2 satellites) – and then safely land back on the ground at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Landing Zone 1 in Florida on Dec. 21, 2015.

Video courtesy of SpaceX / NASA KSC


Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology,, The Mars Society and Universe Today.

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