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Solid Rocket Booster Large Main and Drogue Parachute Reliability AnalysisThe parachutes on the Space Transportation System (STS) Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) are the means for decelerating the SRB and allowing it to impact the water at a nominal vertical velocity of 75 feet per second. Each SRB has one pilot, one drogue, and three main parachutes. About four minutes after SRB separation, the SRB nose cap is jettisoned, deploying the pilot parachute. The pilot chute then deploys the drogue parachute. The drogue chute provides initial deceleration and proper SRB orientation prior to frustum separation. At frustum separation, the drogue pulls the frustum from the SRB and allows the main parachutes that are mounted in the frustum to unpack and inflate. These chutes are retrieved, inspected, cleaned, repaired as needed, and returned to the flight inventory and reused. Over the course of the Shuttle Program, several improvements have been introduced to the SRB main parachutes. A major change was the replacement of the small (115 ft. diameter) main parachutes with the larger (136 ft. diameter) main parachutes. Other modifications were made to the main parachutes, main parachute support structure, and SRB frustum to eliminate failure mechanisms, improve damage tolerance, and improve deployment and inflation characteristics. This reliability analysis is limited to the examination of the SRB Large Main Parachute (LMP) and drogue parachute failure history to assess the reliability of these chutes. From the inventory analysis, 68 Large Main Parachutes were used in 651 deployments, and 7 chute failures occurred in the 651 deployments. Logistic regression was used to analyze the LMP failure history, and it showed that reliability growth has occurred over the period of use resulting in a current chute reliability of R = .9983. This result was then used to determine the reliability of the 3 LMPs on the SRB, when all must function. There are 29 drogue parachutes that were used in 244 deployments, and no in-flight failures have occurred. Since there are no observed drogue chute failures, Jeffreys Prior was used to calculate a reliability of R =.998. Based on these results, it is concluded that the LMP and drogue parachutes on the Shuttle SRB are suited to their mission and changes made over their life have improved the reliability of the parachute.
Document ID
20090023610
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Clifford, Courtenay B. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Hengel, John E. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
May 4, 2009
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing and Performance
Report/Patent Number
MSFC-2223
Meeting Information
AIAA Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems Technology Conference(Seattle, WA)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.