fastest inflation in the history of a parachute of this size
ABOVE VIDEO: Watch as NASA tests a new parachute to land Rovers Mars 2020 on the Red Planet.
(19659008) NASA) – In the early morning hours of September 7, NASA broke a world record.
Less than 2 minutes after launching a 17-meter-long Black Brant IX probe that separated a payload, it began its dive back through the Earth's atmosphere. When onboard sensors found that the payload had reached the appropriate height and Mach number (38 kilometers altitude, Mach 1.8), the payload unfolded a parachute.
Within four-tenths of a second, the 180-pound parachute weighed solid cylinders until fully inflated.
It was the fastest inflation in the history of a parachute of this size, generating a peak load of nearly 70,000 pounds of force.
This high-resolution image was taken on September 7, 2018 during the third and final test flight of the ASPIRE payload. It was the fastest inflation of this size parachute in history and created a peak load of nearly 70,000 pounds of force. (NASA Image)
This was not just any parachute. The bulk of nylon, technora and kevlar fibers that make up the parachute will play a key role in the landing of the state-of-the-art NASA Mars Rover on the Red Planet in February 2021. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (ASPIRE) Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research experiment conducted a series of reconnaissance missiles to determine which parachute design should be used for the Mars 2020 mission.
Two different parachutes were examined during ASPIRE. The first test flight carried almost an exact copy of the parachute, with which NASA's Mars Science Laboratory successfully landed on the Red Planet in 2012. The second and third tests resulted in slides of similar dimensions, but reinforced with stronger materials and stitching.
Image, the second stage of the Black Brant IX reconnaissance missile separates from the ASPIRE payload. The third and final flight test of the ASPIRE payload was launched on September 7, 2018 by NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. (NASA Image) [3/23/9013] On October 3, NASA's Mars 2020 mission management team and members of Entry, Descent and Landing Team met at JPL in Pasadena, California, and found that the reinforced parachute had passed its tests and was ready for his Mars debut.
"Mars 2020 will carry the heaviest payload to the surface of Mars, and like all our previous Mars missions, we only have one parachute and it needs to work," said John McNamee, Project Manager of Mars 2020 at JPL ,
"The ASPIRE tests have remarkably demonstrated how our parachute responds when first deployed in a supersonic flow high above Mars, and let me tell you, it looks beautiful . "
The 37,000-kilogram load was the highest ever survived by a supersonic parachute. That's about an 85 percent higher load than scientists would expect the Mars 2020 parachute to experience during its deployment in the Martian atmosphere.
"Earth's atmosphere near the surface is 100 times more dense than that near the Martian surface," said Ian Clark, technical director of JPL's test. "But high up – around 37 kilometers – the atmospheric density on Earth is very similar like 10 miles above Mars, which happens to be the height at which Mars 2020 will deploy its parachute. "
With the ASPIRE tests completed, Clark and his compatriots will tentatively confine themselves to the lower stratosphere But that does not mean the fun times are over.
"We're all in the process of helping landing in 28 months in 2020," said Clark.
"I can While not firing rockets at the edge of space for a while, when it comes to Mars – and getting there and getting there safely – there are always exciting challenges. "
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