NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Shuttle Endeavour using a drag 'chute at the end of Mission STS-49. This was the maiden flight of Endeavour, the first Shuttle to be fitted with this parachute. It is deployed after the main wheels touch down (at 345 km/h) and is jettisoned when the Shuttle has slowed to 110 km/h. The parachute has a diameter of 12.2 metres, and trails 26 metres behind the Shuttle. It takes less than five seconds to deploy. The parachute was introduced to reduce the Shuttle's landing run (by up to 600 metres), to reduce brake wear and to give improved directional stability in cross-wind landings or wet runways. Mission STS-49 flew between 7-16 May 1992.
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