NASA and SpaceX are trying to understand why one of the Dragon spacecraft’s parachutes deploys more slowly than others

At the end of January, SpaceX’s Dragon CRS-24 returned to Earth from the International Space Station. During his landing, one of the four parachutes opened more slowly than the others, which is the second time in a row. Therefore, engineers from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and SpaceX took up a more detailed study of the possible causes of this behavior of the parachute system.

Image Source: Associated Press

According to available data, during the return of the Dragon ship as part of the CRS-24 mission, one of the four parachutes opened about a minute later than the others. This was announced by NASA spokesman Steve Stich (Steve Stich). A similar incident with the belated opening of one of the parachutes occurred in November last year, when a group of astronauts was returning from the ISS. According to Stitch, the same situation has already arisen with the landing of Dragon cargo ships.

Officials said the Dragon craft could make a soft landing even if one of the system’s parachutes didn’t open at all. However, another incident forced NASA and SpaceX to make more efforts to understand the reasons and ensure the process of safe return of Dragon ships to Earth in the future. SpaceX Vice President William Gerstenmaier said the late-deploying parachute helps ensure the spacecraft descends smoothly, although it does not do so as expected.

Dragon’s design includes two parachutes that stabilize the ship during atmospheric entry, as well as parachutes designed to reduce speed and ensure a soft landing on the water. The source notes that the parachutes on other ships, such as Lockheed Martin’s Orion, are also opening slower than planned.

SpaceX delivers cargo to the ISS, and also has a NASA certificate for manned flights to the orbital station. SpaceX is currently the only private company authorized to carry astronauts to the ISS and return them to Earth. SpaceX’s next manned flight is due in April.

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