Parachute Failure Dents Rocket Booster

Spacers Update

Anyone watching the Ares I-X rocket test this past Tuesday would have thought it all went smoothly from start to finish, and it did, to a certain extent. Just like the Shuttle, the Ares uses a Solid Rocket Booster which is recovered from the ocean after separation. The twin boosters of the Shuttle can bee seen after staging spinning together as the main engines carry the vehicle on up into orbit, but some time later the boosters splash down into the ocean, slowed down by three large parachutes. The Ares I-X booster, although one segment larger than a Shuttle booster, is recovered the same way, only after the test one of the parachutes appears to have failed causing the spent booster to hit the water at a higher speed than was safe by its design. The resulting impact dented the outer shell of the booster.

So, this is bad, right?
Well, for the booster yes it is bad. If the mission had been a manned one, there would have been no danger to the crew whatsoever as the failure happened in a system unrelated to the launch. My guess here is that the increased weight from the additional segment contributed to the failure and somehow overwhelmed the system. NASA is not worried at all about the failure and state that it has no impact at all on the Ares program.

Still, it made for some very pretty post launch pictures, eh.


Images courtesy of United Space Alliance
Digg this