ESA – Parachute Deployment Device

Parachute Deployment Devices are used as one method for inducing the deployment of the parachute braking and stabilizing the descent module.
In an atmospheric Entry, Descent and Landing sequence, successful deployment of a parachute decelerator is a key event to stabilize and slow the spacecraft.

Vorticity was appointed by the European Space Agency to develop a European parachute deployment device (PDD) for a descent system.

The key tasks were to propose a PDD concept, with an associated mathematical model, validate the model through breadboard tests; and to define a development plan for the design of a European PDD including costs figures.

Key Stages in the Parachute Deployment Device project

Principal achievements of the project include:

  • Sizing, analysis and conceptual design of a mortar Parachute Deployment Device to eject a 1.9 kg parachute pack
  • Breadboard Gas Generator and Mortar designed and developed
  • Highly successful breadboard testing of GG and PDD
    • Performance verified across temperature range -50°C to +50°C
    • Sensitivity to propellant quantity ejected mass, pack compression and internal ballistics assessed
  • Developed and validated a PDD mathematical model for use by ESA to analyse and assess PDD performance
  • European mortar capability re-established with a costed plan to progress design

Industrial team

Vorticity led the team.

Safran APP, CGG Technologies, and TNO provided subject matter expert consultancy.