See SpaceX's Crew Dragon Parachutes in Action in This Epic Video Compilation

If a parade of space parachutes popping open is your thing, SpaceX has you covered. The company — which is developing a Crew Dragon spacecraft to bring astronauts to the International Space Station — recently released a YouTube video showing a series of successful parachute tests for its spacecraft.

The compilation shows the spacecraft being dropped from anywhere between 8,000 to 50,000 feet (roughly 2,400 to 15,000 meters) using a helicopter, a high-altitude balloon or the back door of a cargo plane. In various high-definition shots, the spacecraft falls through the air, is stabilized by a drogue parachute or two, and then the main parachutes pop open. 

Cameras mounted on Crew Dragon show the performance of the three or four main parachutes as the spacecraft drifts to desert ground or — in one case — water. The spacecraft needs to pass a series of qualification tests before NASA and other authorities deem it safe enough to fly astronauts.

Related: SpaceX's Crew Dragon Demo-1 Test Flight in Pictures

Four Crew Dragon parachutes deploy during a test in this still from SpaceX's video compilation.  (Image credit: SpaceX)

"More than 25 successful tests have been completed to demonstrate performance in various deployment conditions," SpaceX saidin the video. (The company did not mention a failed parachute test in April. Both SpaceX's Crew Dragon and Boeing's CST-100 Starliner have experienced parachute issues while preparing for commercial flights.)

While the SpaceX video focused on parachute deployment, SpaceX is pursuing many other tests to pursue its human-rating qualification for the Crew Dragon. One of these trials was putting an uncrewed spacecraft in space. The first Crew Dragon launched successfully on March 2 and later berthed with the International Space Station. Boeing's spacecraft will do a space test of its own later this year, if all goes to plan. Launches of astronauts on both spacecraft may follow late this year, or in 2020. 

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: