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Genesis Sample Return Capsule Floats to Earth on a Parafoil
A large parafoil chute allows the Genesis sample return capsule to glide slowly toward Earth.

A large main parachute attached to the Genesis sample return capsule allows it to glide slowly toward Earth where it can be retrieved by a helicopter. Mid-air retrieval of a parachuting space vehicle is not new. For Genesis, however, a recently demonstrated breakthrough in mid-air retrieval technology will be used. The Genesis mission's main parachute will be a rectangular lifting chute: a parafoil lifting body that acts somewhat like a wing. Capture tests with the lifting chute have a 100 percent success rate.

Credit: NASA/JPL

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