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Musk’s SpaceX buys parachute company for $2.2 mn: Report

November 30, 2023

San Francisco, Nov 30 (AGENCY):

Elon Musk's SpaceX has acquired space parachute maker Pioneer Aerospace for $2.2 million.

Musk's rocket making company has bought Pioneer Aerospace -- which makes parachutes for space vehicles as they return to Earth -- after its parent company filed for bankruptcy in Florida, the Information reported.

It's SpaceX's first publicly known acquisition since 2021, when the company acquired the small satellite company Swarm for $524 million.

Pioneer has been a key supplier of drogue parachutes for a number of SpaceX and NASA missions. This includes multiple crewed flights and cargo to the International Space Station (ISS); and the "Osiris Rex" mission.

Drogue chutes are extremely sophisticated components designed for high velocity; in the case of Dragon, the chute deploys after the capsule has reentered through much of the atmosphere, to stabilise the spacecraft and slow it down a little bit.

According to NASA, the two drogues deploy when the Dragon is at 18,000 feet in altitude, moving at around 350 miles per hour.

(The main chutes are deployed later during reentry, at around 6,000 feet in altitude; SpaceX buys those from Airborne Systems.)

It comes as SpaceX prepares to use its Starship rocket system as a fully reusable transportation system to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, help humanity return to the Moon, and travel to Mars and beyond.

 

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