[FPSPACE] Soyuz 1 chute

Robert G Kennedy III robot@ultimax.com
Tue, 24 Oct 2000 14:36:54 -0400

>Wait... this is the parachute that failed during the reentry,
>right?  And it was never tested before flight?  That is pretty
>amazing.  Has that information ever come out before?

Asif Siddiqi (I think) wrote an excellent article in /Quest/ about 1.5
years ago. IIRC, the problem (which was not identified by the Soviet
investigators at the time, they wrongfully pilloried the parachute designer
instead) was that someone left the cover of the parachute stowage canister
off during the capsule autoclaving process. The heat shield was made of
some sort of polymeric matrix, which required heat & pressure to cure. Some
volatiles may have condensed on the inside walls of the canisters during
autoclaving, roughening them, and thus making the already very tightly
packed parachute that much more difficult for the drogue chute to extract.
The main chute only came out part way, and then fouled. Since this was a
random procedural flaw, testing of a properly manufactured capsule would
not have revealed it.

Robert Kennedy, PE