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NERO Projects E-36 Rocket Parachutes

The E-36 Parachute System

Currently all NERO launches take place at a military shooting range, the ASK, near Zwolle in The Netherlands. Unfortunately this terrain is very narrow, and special precautions are necessary to assure that the rocket will not drift outside the launching area, once it is hanging on its parachute.

We decided to use a two-stage parachute system, to reduce the total descent time. At apogee, a pyrotechnic bolt is fired. This opens the lateral parachute hatch located near the nose cone of the rocket. A small drogue parachute is ejected through this hatch. The descent rate of this parachute is 40 m/s. At this moment the main parachute is held fixed in the rocket by a 6 mm nylon cable. At a pre-set time this cable is cut by a pyrocutter. The drogue parachute then pulls out the main parachute. The main parachute is packed in a sleeve to assure a unstrangled opening. The door of the hatch, and the drogue parachute with sleeve have to be remade after each flight, as they are lost. Descent rate of the main parachute is 10 m/s.

Each pyrotechnic device is equipped with two squibs. One squib is connected to the computer, and the other one is connected to the backup timer.

These pictures show the pyrobolt (first) and the pyrocutter (second).


The picture on the left shows the pyrocutter installed in the E-36 rocket.
The main parachute cable is attached to the pyrocutter end (thick cable on the left).
The pilot parachute cable is shown in the middle.
Right on the picture is also the E-36 remove before flight label with safety pin.

Pyrotechnic bolt for the parachute hatch.

Pyro-cutter for main parachute deployment.