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SpaceX tests Crew Dragon's parachute landing skills

NASA's partnership is one step closer to operating human-rated spacecraft.
James Trew, @itstrew
01.28.16 in Space

There's a well-worn saying about what goes up. Usually it's metaphorical, but in the case of SpaceX's human-carrying Crew Dragon craft it's very, very literal. That's why the private space firm has been testing its multi-parachute descent system. The tests used four parachutes in total, and a dummy payload to simulate the expensive capsule -- all of which was ejected from a C-130 cargo plane.

We've already seen the Dragon capsule successfully take off, and hover, but its the part where it plummets to earth that its human cargo will likely be most concerned about. The recent tests passed without incident, but more rigorous trials are still needed. When astronauts are coming home from the ISS, their capsules will actually land on water. But, with the hover test complete, and more parachute testing planned, the ultimate goal is to put those SuperDraco engines to use, and bring capsules safely back to terra firma directly.

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