New ExoMars parachute ready for high altitude drop

The first foremost parachute of the ExoMars 2022 mission lies on the bottom following a dynamic extraction take a look at utilizing NASA/JPL’s take a look at rig powered by compressed air. The lid of the parachute meeting is pulled alongside a suspended cable at high velocity whereas the tip of the meeting is fastened to a wall. When the discharge mechanism is activated, the parachute bag – seen on this picture in direction of the left of the scene – is pulled away from the parachute on the goal velocity, mimicking the extraction as it is going to be on Mars. The picture reveals the parachute supplied by Arescosmo in a take a look at carried out in April 2021. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A sequence of ground-based high-speed extraction assessments affirm the readiness of a brand new and upgraded parachute and bag system for a high-altitude drop take a look at in early June, a part of essential preparations to maintain the ExoMars 2022 mission on monitor for its subsequent launch window.

The assessments, carried out with NASA/JPL’s dynamic extraction take a look at rig in California, U.S., targeted on demonstrating the readiness of latest tools developed by Airborne Systems, in addition to verifying modifications to the parachute and bag supplied by Arescosmo.

The ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars mission, with the Rosalind Franklin rover and Kazachok floor platform contained in a descent module, requires two foremost parachutes—every with its personal pilot chute for extraction—to assist gradual it down because it plunges by the martian ambiance. The 15 m-wide first stage foremost parachute will open whereas the descent module continues to be touring at supersonic speeds, and the 35 m-wide second stage foremost parachute is deployed as soon as at subsonic speeds.

The newest spherical of extraction assessments targeted on the primary foremost parachute supplied by each firms. Arescosmo addressed open points from earlier unsuccessful assessments: a brand new bag design and a revised method to folding to keep away from line-twisting upon extraction. The Airborne Systems parachute and bag additionally accomplished a number of rounds of growth assessments to validate the extraction course of.






ExoMars parachute extraction assessments – Arescosmo. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“Both performed very well in the tests,” says Thierry Blancquaert, ESA ExoMars program workforce chief. “Close inspection showed that a few small areas in the parachute canopy had been subject to friction during the bag extraction process, reducing the strength of the fabric in these few places. Cross-examination with the video footage allowed the Airborne Systems team to pinpoint the moment the damage occurred and make modifications to the bag and packing of the parachute. This could be done with a remarkably quick turnaround of just a couple of days, to arrive at a successful result.”

The parachute had initially been packed contained in the bag across the central mortar that incorporates the pilot chute, such that upon extraction it unwrapped in a 360º vogue. Folding the band of the parachute in two layers, in order that it first unfolds in a single path after which 180º within the different path, proved to cut back the tendency of the cover to expertise friction incurred by wrapping across the mortar.

The Airborne Systems first foremost parachute will now transfer ahead for testing in its first high-altitude drop take a look at scheduled in the beginning of June from Kiruna, Sweden.Two high-altitude balloons and dummy descent modules can be found within the June window, which can see the descent car dropped underneath the parachute from a stratospheric balloon at an altitude of about 29 km.

For Arescosmos, the primary foremost parachute will act as a back-up, and as a substitute the main target for them will flip to the second foremost parachute. Upgrades made to this parachute and bag have been already carried out and examined in dynamic extraction assessments in December 2020, which included utilizing stronger parachute traces and strengthened materials across the parachute apex. For the upcoming high-altitude take a look at, a barely smaller sized pilot chute (3.7 m in contrast with 4.5 m beforehand) may even be carried out, geared toward decreasing the vitality—and subsequently the friction—generated upon extraction of the second foremost parachute from its bag. This can’t be examined on the ground-based rig prematurely, which is simply targeted on the primary parachute extraction from its bag.






ExoMars parachute extraction assessments. Credit: Airborne Systems

Further ground-based dynamic extraction take a look at slots are anticipated throughout August to arrange for one other pair of high-altitude drop assessments foreseen for October/November this yr, from Oregon, U.S.. Further high-altitude take a look at alternatives are additionally thought of through the first half of 2022. Subsequent take a look at configurations will largely depend upon the result of the upcoming assessments in Kiruna, though it’s anticipated to repeat profitable assessments not less than as soon as extra.

High-altitude drop assessments require complicated logistics and strict climate circumstances, making them troublesome to schedule, whereas the bottom assessments will be repeated on a fast turnaround, shopping for considerably extra time within the take a look at marketing campaign and decreasing danger by permitting extra assessments to be carried out on a short while body.

“Our strategy of having two highly qualified teams working on the parachutes, together with the availability of the ground-test rig, is already paying off and we are ready and looking forward to the next high-altitude drop tests,” says Thierry. “Landing safely on Mars is a notoriously difficult task. Investing our efforts in this test strategy is an essential part of ensuring a successful mission when we arrive at Mars in 2023.”


ExoMars parachute testing strikes ahead


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New ExoMars parachute ready for high altitude drop (2021, May 21)
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