On the 3rd day of November, SpaceX revealed a scene from a video showing the latest test of their newest parachutes (“Mark 3”) for their Crew Dragon Spacecraft.
SpaceX stated that they have now carried out 13 successful tests of their newest parachute design, after solving various initial issues of the project.
What the video captured
The recorded test demonstrated the ability of the parachute system to safely land the spacecraft “in the unlikely event that one of the four main parachutes fails”, according to a tweet from SpaceX.
The test took place on October 31 and it was the first time SpaceX tested three Mark 3 parachutes concomitantly, so the event was a great milestone in the timeline of the company.
Mark 3 vs Mark 2
The developers of the Mark 3 parachutes aimed to achieve greater margins of safety than the ones of the Mark 2 models.
Elon Musk said: “We think the Mark 2 parachutes are safe, but the Mark 3 parachutes are possibly 10 times safer”. “I think that the Mark 3 parachutes, in my opinion, are the best parachutes ever, by a lot,” he added.
Testing of the first two iterations of the Mark 3 parachutes were unsuccessful, unfortunately, but this supposedly happened because the effective payloads were a lot heavier than what the parachutes 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 is working hard on the aforementioned parachutes, and even Jim Bridenstine, administrator of NASA acknowledged their great efforts: “They’re putting as much resources and manpower as they can to getting those parachutes ready.”
But they’re just parachutes…?
Contrary to popular belief, parachutes aren’t as simple as they might look, and it seems like Elon Musk himself noticed that people underappreciated the development of the parachutes : “We’re just going full tilt on the Mark 3 parachutes. […] People think that parachutes look easy, but they are definitely not easy.”