FSI modeling of the Orion spacecraft drogue parachutes

Kenji Takizawa, Tayfun E. Tezduyar*, Ryan Kolesar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


The space–time fluid–structure interaction (STFSI) methods for parachute modeling are now capable of bringing reliable analysis to spacecraft parachutes, which pose formidable computational challenges. A number of special FSI methods targeting spacecraft parachutes complement the STFSI core computational technology in addressing these challenges. Until recently, these challenges were addressed for the Orion spacecraft main parachutes, which are the parachutes used for landing, and in the incompressible-flow regime, which is where the main parachutes operate. At higher altitudes the Orion spacecraft will rely on drogue parachutes. These parachutes have a ribbon construction, and in FSI modeling this creates geometric and flow complexities comparable to those encountered in FSI modeling of the main parachutes, which have a ringsail construction. Like the main parachutes, the drogue parachutes will be used in multiple stages—two reefed stages and a fully-open stage. A reefed stage is where a cable along the parachute skirt constrains the diameter to be less than the diameter in the subsequent stage. After a period of time during the descent at the reefed stage, the cable is cut and the parachute disreefs (i.e. expands) to the next stage. The reefed stages and disreefing involve computational challenges beyond those in FSI modeling of fully-open drogue parachutes. We present the special modeling techniques we devised to address the computational challenges and the results from the computations carried out. The flight envelope of the Orion drogue parachutes includes regions where the Mach number is high enough to require a compressible-flow solver. We present a preliminary fluid mechanics computation for such a case.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1167-1179
Number of pages13
JournalComputational Mechanics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec 23


  • Compressible flow
  • Disreefing
  • Fluid–structure interaction
  • Orion spacecraft drogue parachutes
  • Reefed stages
  • Spacecraft parachutes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'FSI modeling of the Orion spacecraft drogue parachutes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this