SpaceX, With NASA, Successfully Completes First Space Parachute Test For Astronauts

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8:00 pm 28 Jan, 2016

On path of making space tourism a reality, SpaceX, one of NASA’s partnering firm has now successfully tested a way to safely parachute astronauts back on earth.


Space X, which in the past few months have been closely working with NASA to shuttle cargo to and from the International Space Station (ISS), made the attempt earlier this week. The results were positive.



NASA Astronaut Rick Mastracchio outside the International Space Station (ISS)

The news about SpaceX parachute came to light when NASA released a video showing a successful completion of the drop test.

The video shows four large parachutes positioning and lowering a mock spacecraft beneath them as NASA and SpaceX conducted a mock drill which is ultimately targeted to help bring astronauts home from space.


To conduct the mock drill, SpaceX and NASA used a massive weight almost the same as an actual spacecraft and dropped it from a C-130 cargo aircraft. To know the approx mass they used a mass simulator.


NASA C-130 cargo aircraft used to conduct the test

As it was just an initial test run, they conducted the test from the height of several thousand feet and dropped the cargo over Coolidge, Arizona.

The initial aim of this test was to safely land the astronauts in the oceans under parachutes, but SpaceX now wants it to take a step forward and achieve a ground landing.

To achieve this feat, SpaceX plans to use eight SuperDraco engines.


Space X

Space X SuperDraco engines

Last week, SpaceX also tested their propulsive landing in which their goal was to safely lower the returning astronauts on landing pads and save the parachutes for emergency landings only.



NASA SpaceX Dragon capsule

There are many companies which are already working towards perfecting technologies that can propel humans into the solar system and are also testing safe take-offs and landings methods, but SpaceX’s initiative is first of its kind in which there has been such a breakthrough.

Space X and NASA’s partnership also seems to reaping fruits as the latter will now leverage the capabilities of both the Elon Musk-led company and Boeing to commute its astronauts to space and from the space station.



NASA SpaceX Dragon capsule

SpaceX’s Dragon capsule and Boeing’s CST 100 Starliner are also offering spare seats, which in the future might be reserved for a space tourist.

Looking at how things at SpaceX is turning up, it seems one’s dream of space tourism is not far off and one might soon get the opportunity to go out in space and look at the stars up, close and personal.

Here is the video that NASA released:


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