November 15, 2007 --- The main parachute for Constellation Program rockets is tested Nov. 15 over the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground near Yuma, Ariz. Measuring 150-feet in diameter and weighing 2,000 pounds, the parachute is the largest of its kind that's been tested.
Outfitted with a 42,000-pound weight to simulate the load of a first stage, the main parachute was dropped from a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft flying at an altitude of 16,500 feet. The one-ton parachute and all supporting hardware functioned properly, landing safely approximately three minutes later on the Yuma Proving Ground test range.
The parachute system will allow Ares I and Ares V first stage boosters to be recovered and reused. Exploring the moon and beyond is the focus of Constellation Program, which is developing a new family of U.S. launch vehicles, spacecraft and related systems for exploration.
Image Credit: NASA/MSFC