NASA Says SpaceX and Boeing Crew Capsules Have Parachute Problems

On Wednesday, William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations, said of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon during a House subcommittee hearing. The parachutes did not work as designed.

Boeing Starliner parachute drop tests have had similar to the one suffered by SpaceX last month.

Patricia Sanders, chair of NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, said parachutes are one of the largest risks faced by SpaceX and Boeing engineers working on NASA’s commercial crew program.

There have been some good tests but there are also problems. The parachutes have to be reliable before you humans are launched.

SOURCES- Congressional session, NASA

17 thoughts on “NASA Says SpaceX and Boeing Crew Capsules Have Parachute Problems”

  1. Of course the propulsive landing version of the Dragon capsule had more fuel capacity…

  2. Well, if you use the Super Dracos for abort–you better have parachutes, cause the tanks will be slap dry.

    I heard Orion Starliner and SpaceX all use the same ‘chute supplier.

  3. Every system is custom designed, it’s not like “oh we built a tank in 1930, should be easy.” This is especially true of parachutes, however. Just because it’s been done before doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. That’s how how systems design works.

  4. I was assuming an AI news collator that was gradually assuming sapience. But your story is less disturbing.

  5. Parachutes for heavy-ish payloads are still not completely a thing. NASA goes through a lot of effort for theirs and still have issues, going to some serious extremes (making sure the ladies who are doing the chute packing all are same handed for instance). US military air drops have a nontrivial failure rate as well, and arguably they should be better at it through using the same systems for years with lots of practical experience (using processes and systems that should be removing most of the packing risks).

  6. SpaceX can send its own astronauts up and use powered landings. Which of course they will with Starship.

  7. Yeah, they really need to figure out a way to out-source responsibility for humans in space. Seems like the commercial space folks would be willing – after all, there are the tourism space folks, and Musk seems to want to send his own missions to Mars.

  8. NASA is much more risk adverse than they were back then. They’re terrified that, if they lose another astronaut, the backlash will result in their manned space flight program being terminated.

  9. “before you humans are launched”

    I’m guessing that was written by a Klingon agent

  10. I think i see why Musk wanted to do powered landings now.

    Parachutes are freaking complicated and touche

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