On the 15th and 16th of March, the Parachute Research Group (PRG) of DARE performed its fifth wind tunnel test campaign. This wind tunnel campaign had two major test goals, which are the following:
- To accept the Stratos flight hardware
- To test reefing on cross parachutes
The first goal was to determine if the new Stratos drogue and main parachutes were flight ready. These new parachutes are a one-on-one copy of previously tested parachutes. However, the previous models will remain on the ground while the ones tested in this campaign will be put in the Stratos III launcher. For the Stratos flight, there will be both a drogue parachute and a main parachute. But in order to have a redundant system, there is a complete set of spares available in case they would be necessary. All of these parachutes have been tested and accepted! Which is great news for the recovery of Stratos III. Below you can find a video of the drogue stable in stable flight followed by a successful deployment of the main parachute.
During the second test series, reefing on a cross parachute was performed in order to reduce the opening loads on a parachute. When parachutes enter the air flow, high mechanical loads on the structure are generated. By restricting the area of the parachute, the team hopes to reduce the inflation loads.
The team can look back to a successful wind tunnel test campaign with nice results. These results will not only help in the recovery of the Stratos III nose cone, but will also enable better and more effective parachutes for future missions!
By Lars Pepermans