发信人: ZZGR (闲逛), 信区: Aviation
标 题: Parachute Test Fails for NASA's New Spaceship
发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Tue Sep 9 11:52:00 2008)
By SPACE.com Staff
posted: 21 August 2008
05:32 pm ET
A mock-up of NASA's Orion space shuttle successor twisted, tumbled and fell
from thousands of feet up after a parachute failed to inflate properly
during a July 31 test.
The programmer chute was designed to stabilize the mock-up before beginning
a test of its parachute recovery system, but instead sent the capsule
careening toward the desert floor at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Grounds in
"This is the most complicated parachute test NASA has run since the '60's,"
said Carol Evans, test manager for the parachute system at NASA's Johnson
Space Center in Houston. "We are taking a close look at what caused the set-
up chutes to malfunction. A failure of set-up parachutes is actually one of
the most common occurrences in this sort of test."
The Orion crew module is part of NASA's Constellation program slated to
return astronauts to the moon by 2020. Orion will carry astronauts into
orbit atop the Ares I rocket to dock with an orbiting Earth departure stage
previously launched by an Ares V rocket, and from there proceed to the moon.
The space shuttles are scheduled to retire from service as NASA's workhorses
The failure occurred in one of 10 parachutes that make up the testing
equipment, and not in the parachute recovery system itself.
Some of the parachutes helped the mock-up get clear of the C-17 airplane
which carried the test capsule up to a drop height of 25,000 feet (7,620
meters). The programmer chute that failed to inflate was designed to help
two other stabilization chutes get the capsule into the right orientation,
before releasing at a predetermined time to allow the parachute recovery
system to take over.
The Orion recovery parachute system is based on the same eight-chute system
used for the Apollo missions, for use in case of a launch abort.
Two drogue parachutes first deploy to slow and stabilize the capsule so that
it points in the right direction. Once the drogue chutes get cut away,
three pilot chutes deploy to each pull out one of the three main 116-feet (
35-meter) diameter parachutes that are meant to ensure a safe landing speed.
The mock-up was already dropping faster than intended by the time the drogue
parachutes deployed during the test. The drogue parachutes cut away
immediately and sent the test capsule into freefall.
The falling mock-up began to tumble out of control, and the resulting forces
pulled the main parachutes out and tore away two of them. The third
battered parachute held, but could not slow the falling mock-up on its own.
A final impact on the ground left the mock-up severely damaged. NASA
engineers and managers are looking to test procedures and test hardware and
set-up, as well as video and photograph evidence, to figure out what might
have led to the programmer chute's failure.
NASA announced in August that the first manned flight test won't launch
until 2014 at the earliest, or four years after the space shuttle retires.
Earlier this week, the agency unveiled plans to add a shock absorbing system
to smooth out excessive shaking of its Ares I rocket during launch.
2008，the year of the Phoenix
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