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Ares Parachute Drop Test in Yuma
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Ares Parachute Drop Test in Yuma

November 3, 2009
NASA and industry engineers will drop a 72,000 pound test payload from the back of a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft from an altitude of 25,000 feet, tying the record for the heaviest load ever extracted from the aircraft during flight . The payload includes the main parachute for the Ares I rocket. This drop test is designed to push the parachute's canopy to its limit -- supporting a 250,000-pound dynamic load. Dynamic load weight is generated by the drag and pull of the payload. The primary test objective is to achieve a dynamic pressure of 110 pounds per square foot on the canopy, simulating the conditions the main parachute will experience when it is deployed to slow the rapid descent of the rocket's spent first-stage motor. Engineers from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manage the team conducting the test.