Parachutes and Aerodynamic Decelerators

Vorticity is best known for expertise in parachute system development. Our capability spans system analysis, design, development and testing.


Vorticity staff designed, developed and tested the Huygens parachute system which successfully landed a probe on Saturn’s moon Titan in 2005.

Parachute Simulation Methodology

We are at the forefront of the understanding of parachute physics and have developed simulation methods to predict inflation, aerodynamic performance, flight dynamics and trajectory prediction.

Parachute Engineering Analysis Tools

We are currently developing a parachute analysis and design tool for the European Space Agency.

In the NASA Mars Pinpoint programme Vorticity analysed the possibility of using gliding subsonic parachutes to achieve accurate landing on Mars.  In addition to developing state of the art parachute engineering analysis tools Vorticity has pioneered the use of CFD/FSI techniques for parachute analysis in support of Huygens post-flight analysis, NASA MSL, ExoMars and UK Space Agency studies.

Terrestrial and extra-terrestrial applications

We design parachute systems for terrestrial and extra-terrestrial applications.

Wind Tunnel Testing

We have conducted a wide range of testing including wind tunnel tests in the subsonic and supersonic regimes and high altitude parachute drop tests (>25 km) using balloons at sub-scale and full scale in addition to the more conventional helicopter and aircraft  based testing.

Parachute and Aerodynamic Decelerator Case Studies

Cirrus Aircraft – Whole Aircraft Recovery Systems

ESA – Alternative Descent and Landing Systems

ESA – Huygens Descent Control Sub-System (DCSS)        

NASA JPL/Draper Laboratories – Mars Pinpoint Landing

NASA JPL – Mars Science Laboratory Parachute Consultancy

Thales/ESA – ExoMars Parachute

SciSys / ESA – Entry and Guided Landing Environment (EAGLE)

SSTL / ESA – Venus Entry Probe

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