A parachute in the SpaceX Dragon capsule did not open as fast as expected as the ship landed on Earth, causing terrifying moments.
One of the four main parachutes aboard the SpaceX Dragon took longer to open than expected as the capsule landed on Earth, a NASA official said in a statement. It is the second time the frightening error has occurred following a similar incident involving the Dragon ship in November.
NASA and SpaceX said they do not believe the slow-opening parachute poses a safety risk in either case, but that the parachute will be thoroughly examined. “If we can be smarter about how these systems work, if we can really make sure that this four-channel system has a nominal process, we can make a safer flight,” he said.
Parachute not opened in SpaceX Dragon capsule
NASA program manager Steve Stich suggested that the delayed opening of one parachute could be caused by three other canopies shading one of the others, and could lead to a great struggle in time.
SpaceX executive William Gerstenmaier said the delay in opening the parachute put the Dragon capsule at risk. “It’s more of a learning exercise in how we can improve our understanding of design and engineering for the parachute operation,” he said.
The Dragon spacecraft is equipped with a total of six parachutes, including two that stabilized the vehicle upon re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. According to SpaceX’s website, the four main channels are capable of slowing down the spacecraft during landing.
In addition to the seven astronauts, the Dragon can also carry cargo to the ISS. In April, SpaceX plans to send another team of astronauts into space using a Dragon capsule and a Falcon 9 launch vehicle. But SpaceX’s goal of launching 52 rockets a year, or an average of four each month, could be hampered by such mistakes.