SpaceX Crew Dragon : SpaceX achieves key milestone in safety testing of Crew Dragon parachutes

November 7, 2019 posted by

SpaceX is continuing to edge towards the next
launch of its Crew Dragon spacecraft, with the vehicle’s parachute system the latest
critical component to be put through its paces. SpaceX has experienced a couple of hiccups
since docking an unmanned Crew Dragon capsule with the International Space Station back
in March. Engine testing the following month then ended
in a launchpad explosion, which follow-up investigations revealed to be the result of
a leaky valve. A perhaps less dramatic failure also came
in April, as SpaceX continued testing the spacecraft’s parachute system that will be
responsible for bringing any astronauts aboard safely back down to Earth. This test run took place with one of the SpaceX
Crew Dragon’s four chutes disabled, to test its ability to land using just three in case
of emergency. Those three also failed to open properly,
which sent SpaceX back to the drawing board to rethink the design. While the test wasn’t successful, the data
SpaceX gained throughout offered new insights on the structural margins and the ideal configuration,
culminating in what the company calls its Mark 3 parachutes. In this video Engineering Today will discuss
SpaceX’s upgraded Crew Dragon Mark 3 parachutes which breeze through 13 drop tests. SpaceX achieves a key milestone in safety
testing of Crew Dragon spacecraft. Let’s get started. SpaceX tested the third iteration of the parachute
system on its Crew Dragon human spacecraft. While the twice-revised system had malfunctioned
in the past, SpaceX has demonstrated that its latest Mark 3 Crew Dragon parachutes will
work even if things don’t go quite to plan. SpaceX said Nov. 3 that it has now carried
out 13 consecutive successful tests of a new parachute design for its Crew Dragon spacecraft
after overcoming initial problems with it. SpaceX is making an effort to keep the public
up to date on how testing is going. On Twitter, the company showed off a short
video clip of the latest test of the “Mark 3” parachutes it is developing in cooperation
with Airborne Systems. The latest test “demonstrated the parachute
system’s ability to land the spacecraft safely in the unlikely event that one of the
four main parachutes fails,” SpaceX said. That’s a pretty big milestone for SpaceX’s
to launch NASA astronauts aboard Crew Dragon, as it beats a goal that CEO Elon Musk had
set last month. This is a big step for SpaceX’s plan to
launch NASA astronauts aboard Crew Dragon. Last month, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
visited SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, where he and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk
held a press conference to discuss their progress on the commercial crew program. They’re on the same page when it comes to
the development of Crew Dragon. They both emphasized the importance of passing
all safety tests before astronauts get on board. At that event, Musk said that he felt SpaceX
was aiming to do “at least” 10 successful tests of its revised ‘Mark 3’ parachute
system in a row before any astronauts fly with the system in use. “We certainly want to get at least on the
order of 10 successful tests in a row before, before launching astronauts,” Musk said
at the time. “So that seems like where the behavior of
the parachutes is consistent, is across 10 successful tests.” At the time, Musk added that they were anticipating
get to the 10 successful test prior to the end of the year, so managing 13 definitely
fits with that schedule, and in fact seems to be a rare occasion where SpaceX is actually
ahead of the often optimistic timelines that Musk sets as targets. A SpaceX spokesperson said Nov. 3 that test
in the video took place Oct. 31. It was the first time that SpaceX tested three
Mark 3 parachutes simultaneously, with the previous 12 successful tests each involving
a single parachute. SpaceX announced last month it was working
on the new Mark 3 parachute design, intended to provide higher margins of safety than the
earlier Mark 2 design. SpaceX Crew Dragon’s parachutes, earlier made
of nylon, have been modified to a Zylon-based material. Zylon is an extremely durable polymer material
developed by Stanford University — 1.6 times more durable than Kevlar — and provides
the lines used in the parachute around three times the strength of nylon. Along with a change in material, SpaceX also
changed the pattern of stitch on the parachute to improve its weight balance and distribution. “We think the Mark 2 parachutes are safe,
but the Mark 3 parachutes are possibly 10 times safer,” Elon Musk, said at an Oct.
10 event at the company’s Hawthorne, California, headquarters with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “I think that the Mark 3 parachutes, in
my opinion, are the best parachutes ever, by a lot.” Testing of those new parachutes, though, did
not start well, SpaceX acknowledged. The company said the latest test was the 15th
for the Mark 3 parachutes. The first two tests, reaching involving a
single parachute, were not successful. A SpaceX spokesperson said, those first two
tests, involved loads much higher than what the parachute would see in normal operation. “As a result, these two development tests
resulted in failures that were addressed with design reinforcements that have proven robust
in subsequent testing.” SpaceX said it worked with Airborne Systems
and “rapidly iterated” on the Mark 3 parachute design, carrying out 12 single-parachute tests
over seven days prior to the three-parachute test. There was a little discussion at the committee
meeting on parachute testing despite the emphasis NASA was placing on that part of SpaceX’s
commercial crew work. “The highest priority has been the parachutes,”
Bridenstine said during his Oct. 10 visit to SpaceX. “Elon has told me, and he’s showed me,
that that’s where their priority is. They’re putting as much resources and manpower
as they can to getting those parachutes ready.” There had been industry rumors that at least
one recent SpaceX parachute test had failed, which the company’s comments about the unsuccessful
first two Mark 3 tests appear to confirm. Neither SpaceX nor NASA would comment on the
status of parachute testing last month beyond confirming that Mark 3 parachute testing was
underway. SpaceX said it would continue to work with
Airborne on “a rapid cadence of testing,” seeking to qualify the Mark 3 parachutes by
the end of the year, but did not disclose a target in terms of number of tests planned. “We need to get with the Mark 3 now consistent,
repeatable performance,” Bridenstine said at SpaceX. “We could see as many as 10 drop tests between
now and the end of the year.” It wasn’t clear if those 10 tests would
involve the complete system, which uses four parachutes, or the testing of a smaller number
of parachutes as in the recent series of tests. He said more tests might be needed if the
performance of the Mark 3 parachutes was significantly different from the earlier Mark 2 design. “We’re just going full tilt on the Mark
3 parachutes,” Musk said at the event with Bridenstine. “People think that parachutes look easy,
but they are definitely not easy.” Musk said that SpaceX Crew Dragon could be
ready for its first crewed “Demo-2” test flight in quarter 1 of 2020. Before that happens, however, SpaceX still
has to perform static fire tests of the Crew Dragon abort engine. During the last such test in April, an anomaly
caused an uncrewed capsule to explode. If that goes to plan, SpaceX would then perform
an in-flight abort test demonstrating that astronauts would be able to escape alive in
the event of an explosion or other launch problem. During that test, an uncrewed Crew Dragon
capsule will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket at Kennedy Space center. Shortly after liftoff, the capsule’s SuperDraco
thrusters are supposed to blast it a safe distance from the rocket. If all that works (and that’s a big “if”),
NASA and SpaceX could start running the crucial Demo-2 tests to the international space station
with test-flight crew aboard. Both NASA and SpaceX have expressed optimism
about getting an actual crewed flight off the ground early next year, provided everything
else in terms of testing requirements goes smoothly between now and then. Bridenstine said, “We are getting very close,
and we’re very confident that, in the first part of next year, we will be ready to launch
American astronauts on American rockets.” If all goes well, NASA won’t have to hitch
rides on Russian ships any longer. It would mark the start of a new era in US
spaceflight. We just have to wait a little longer.


52 Replies to “SpaceX Crew Dragon : SpaceX achieves key milestone in safety testing of Crew Dragon parachutes”

  1. Thugs Bunny says:


  2. Shrike DeCil says:

    September 29, SpaceX had three Raptors, claimed a production rate of one per eight days, and claimed that that is the key critical path component. With milestones of 1 per "couple days" near Christmas, and "one per day in Q1".

    I really want to know (A) Current Raptor count, (B) any changes in thoughts on how they can ramp. Because if they're actually managing anything near that, the entire "Dragon" schedule can be given the complete heave ho.

  3. Nico Steffen says:

    Elon really loves the number 10!
    10 times better, 10 times cheaper, ….

  4. Michael Gallagher says:

    Always great content. ☺

  5. tentimesful says:

    SpaceX will have a hard time with competition coming from Boeing and other International companies…

  6. Randy Vice says:

    Nov 3rd was the first of the ten test.

  7. Kyrpi Coasters says:

    Hey Duuude this is a random comment

  8. HockeyDay says:

    Elon states only 1 test for mk3

  9. Matouš Klugar says:

    Why this video is not in 1080p? :-O

  10. Ashley Johnson says:

    Does anybody that watch these videos know anything about maritime law in salvaging any rocket engines from out there in the Atlantic being that those engines were dropped into the ocean can anybody go out and recover those engines I haven't been able to find anything that says no but I haven't found anything that says yes either I want to get my hands on one of them Falcon 9 boosters I want to build something and shoot myself off into the sky

  11. AlienBalls' Overwatch Highlights says:

    Broken record video

  12. Rolf Jacobson says:

    the parachutes have been a big pain for spaceX and Boeing.

  13. 000000 says:

    Still Soyuz is much better.

  14. The_Wilsonator says:

    is anyone bothered a bit when jim bridenstine says launching american astronaughts, from american land etc. etc. i mean i get hes trying to spark off some patriotism. but this concerns all of humanity… not just americans

  15. clavo says:

    The safety margins seem too marginal. Parachutes are difficult to deploy reliably using only atmosphere. Maybe a canister of compressed CO2 could be used to assist in the inflation stage of parachute deployment. What would happen if a non-shrapnel hand-grenade type device was used to inflate the parachutes?

  16. Mac Tek says:

    The key milestone was it not exploding.

  17. Tony Mind says:

    Elon needs me but he doesn't know it :/

  18. Brett says:

    It would be interesting to inject the parachutes with hot air while adjusting the shape to better hold the hot air. Just spitballing here…

  19. Steve Siegelin says:

    "Instead of saying it's not rocket science we should be saying it's not parachute science!" Scott Manley circa 2019


    Hire a better voice over guy

  21. Critical Thinker says:


  22. Danie van der Westhuizen says:

    Why keep dwelling on that same old 1 failure ??? You repeated that same story again and again in each video since, and probably 3 times again in this one ? Seriously…get some new news.

  23. reallysmall ant says:

    Ur intro is bad


    Full steam ahead!
    SpaceX is awesome!

  25. W Brown says:

    Geez, I cannot stand this vo’s voice! It’s grating and aggravating, due to its harsh edge, especially when he pronounces a vowel. Aaaaaaaaaargh! IF you can take it, listen to his words beginning with A, E, I. Oh, my, gooooooodness. I’m out, early.

  26. zen pro says:

    for the progress of human space flight, sign me up on your next parachute drop testing, willing to be on board a drop craft and help in anyways

  27. Steven Castellanos says:

    Only ONE test of Mark 3 parachutes have actually been tested.
    According to Elon
    Other 12 were with Mark 2's

  28. Mark Owen says:

    Is the narrator automated or real? I hear no breaths and have heard the same voice on another channel 🤔. Answers?

  29. rgerber says:

    I totally love that long silence before the narrator starts talking with his confident and calm voice

  30. Kev B says:

    I'd feel much safer (if I was in the capsule), if there was also an ejector seat arrangement as an absolute last resort. It wouldn't cost much (relatively speaking), if they used salvaged units from decommissioned military aircraft as they're already tested and approved. Just a thought.

  31. bamboosa says:

    @ENGINEERING TODAY – bravo on the narrator. Steve White and this dude NOW must find a female this is getting interesting…1950s rockets actually right on our monitors. When that little stubby rocket launched and then landed I openly wept. My childhood (1950s) had manifest. Cheers, Narrator Dude and the writers and the editor…

  32. bamboosa says:

    Call me Elon – I will donate jingles that are as unique as your platform and rocket names. Dude. What have you got to lose, come to the horrible part of Hollywood, rented electric vehicle to Griffith Park and headbang some ideas with the help of Nature in All of Her Vibrational Splendor because the music writes itself in Griffith Park, easy hike. More of a walk, really, Batcave and all. Catchy little songs in an old joyful and sad Beatles and Stones and blues way. Mediocrity has had its reign. It is time to dance and you, sir, are a dancer. Aloha.

  33. Don Ogoobo says:

    Spacex seems to have more parachute failures than Boeing. That is because they do more testing than Boeing. Testing is the back bone of construction of a safe product.
    Even today, parachutes are not an exact science, until Spacex got into testing. It remains to be seen if the data gathered will be shared among all NASA contractors or like in the case of ULA not sharing their ownership of fairing tech even though it was developed with public money. Anything coming from the use of public funds should be shared among anyone requesting it from NASA.

  34. Code Tech says:

    Is the voice real or synthesized?

  35. Matthew Schultz says:

    I still really want to see the dragon capsule land with rockets

  36. Tyler Kriesel says:

    What up with the cod Black Ops 2 intro?

  37. Tony Minehan says:

    Well done Space X, show NASA how it's done 👍🏻

  38. Norm T says:

    What is with the huge no audio at the begging of all your video its annoying as hell. I had to stop and check my speakers only to realise its you. STOP IT !
    13 Seconds of silence is a DICK move !

  39. flo. gra says:

    I always watch your videos with subtitles and without sound. I really like your videos but somehow your voice is so annoying. I can not understand how a human can start the sentences with such a high pitch^^

  40. SYKOMORF says:

    NASA are military . Get rid .they are holding everyone back.

  41. Thinker , says:

    use one big shut and have another for backup…that's the best way

  42. Monish Kumar says:

    Marvellous Job, I compleatly enjoyed it!, See this New Album 'Monish Jasbird – Death Blow', channel link , you can try 🙂

  43. Hadley Scott McIntyre says:

    The aliens are gonna say" damn back in the day ol Elon was doin his best to get yiu guys off the ground."

  44. michael bell says:

    Fake X

  45. pHoEn|}{-GR says:

    Old design, nothing new.

  46. Ibanstein says:

    Who cares what fake-x does, because whatever it is, you know it will be fake, just like the red toy car out there spinning around in CGI space. Yeah Right! My favorite though, was when they changed Live Video when one of his hobby rockets was landing on a pad out in the ocean. That was a real hoot, but none of his muskateers said anything about it, even when he got caught with it. Why? Because they really think space-x is real…Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha….

  47. Siva Sankar Padhy says:

    Can anyone give me info about crew dragon's draco engine next static test after april failure ??

  48. Generic Username says:

    Spacex has the best approach in the industry. Sure you could spend years in development so you don't have a failure at any point during testing. Or you can rapidly iterate on real testing data. Rapid iteration appears to produce superior results not only faster but more cost-effectively too.

  49. UFOlogist says:

    Don't fool yourself… one chute failed to open, and the service module spewed hydrazine all over the place. NASA will NEVER accept a 33+% failur rate.

  50. bigrobnz says:

    ok we get it….the parachutes have been tested……

  51. Валентин Валентин says:

    Ilon 👍

  52. lucky Picciri says:

    1969: man lands on the moon.
    2019: capsule struggling to deploy a parachute for a water landing. Shows how far we’ve come in all that time

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