Crew Dragon lands safely, despite one parachute inflating slowly [Updated]

NASA Television of the Crew-2 landing shows three main parachutes deployed, with a fourth one lagging behind.

Enlarge / NASA Television of the Crew-2 landing shows three main parachutes deployed, with a fourth one lagging behind. (credit: NASA TV)

11:30pm ET Monday update: Crew Dragon Endeavour safely splashed down into the Northern Gulf of Mexico on Monday evening, just south of Pensacola, Florida. The water landing capped a successful 199-day mission to the International Space Station.

The spacecraft’s return to Earth seemed nominal up until 4 minutes before splashdown, when the vehicle’s main parachutes deployed. Three of the four parachutes came out nominally, but inflation of the fourth parachute was delayed by a fraction of a minute. Despite this, the commentators on the NASA-SpaceX livestream indicated that the fourth parachute’s inflation rate was normal, and the spacecraft’s descent speed nominal.

The crew emerged from the spacecraft less than an hour later, on board a recovery ship, no worse for wear. Another Crew Dragon spacecraft, carrying NASA’s Crew-3 mission, is set to launch from Florida in less than two days. It seems possible that this mission could be delayed due to the parachute issue observed Monday night.

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