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NASA’s Wallops C-130 Plays Vital Role in Successful Parachute Airdrop Test

A NASA C-130 cargo aircraft, flying in clear skies, has dropped a test vehicle from its open cargo door. The test vehicle is shaped like a dart and has a large ring-like parachute attached to it.
NASA’s C-130 cargo aircraft releases a dart-shaped test vehicle above the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground on Jan. 9 to begin the testing sequence for a Boeing Starliner parachute system.
Credit: U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground

NASA’s C-130 Hercules, managed at Wallops Flight Facility’s Aircraft Office in Virginia, provided aerial delivery support for a successful commercial crew parachute airdrop test Jan. 9 at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. This week’s testing was in support of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and partner, Boeing, which are developing crew transportation capability to and from the International Space Station.

Up for testing was a modified parachute system for Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft. The system, which involved two ringsail parachutes, required a demonstration set in stressed conditions to certify successful deployment.

During the demonstration, the Wallops C-130 team deployed a 27,000-pound payload comprised of the Parachute Compartment Drop Test Vehicle and Mid-Altitude Deployment System. The team released the payload from an altitude of 13,000 feet while coordinating and timing their efforts with U.S. Army UH-60s and a NASA AFRC B-200 aircraft used to capture photos and video documentation of the mission.

The Wallops C-130 team has supported 16 successful commercial crew parachute airdrop tests since 2018. For more information, visit



Last Updated
Jan 12, 2024
Olivia F. Littleton
Olivia F. Littleton