Development of a Reusable Parachute Test System
A unique, reusable instrumented drop body has been designed for flight qualification testing of new, larger capacity parachute recovery systems for the Black Brant family of sounding rockets. Project duration and costs have been greatly diminished by utilizing a deployable ballast section. This ballast section, which is jettisoned after completion of the main parachute test phase, allows the remaining instrumented drop body to become buoyant in water and to be recovered by surface vessel. This enables economical testing using existing local NASA tracking facilities and personnel. The drop body, which is deployed from a NASA aircraft, contains an on-board video camera; self-contained and programmable triaxial acceleration sensors; and an on-board telemetry system for transmitting acceleration and housekeeping data to a ground station.