NASA chooses Heathcoat Fabrics to make heat-resistant parachute material for Mars 2020/Perseverance Rover Mission

Technical Textiles

Mars 2020/Perseverance Rover mission by NASA will now use super high-strength and heat resistance parachute fabric made by Heathcoat Fabrics who will use Picanol’s weaving machine.

Launched in July 2020, the mission will land the rover on Mars in February 2021.

Using Picanol’s weaving machine, Heathcoat Fabrics will develop DecelAir™ parachute fabric.

Peter Hill – Director, Woven Fabrics, Heathcoat Fabrics says: “Picanol’s weaving machine is perfect for producing the high-quality fabric as it meets the increasing requirements of the fabric. As the technical requirements for parachute fabrics in space are increasing because the payloads to be delivered will increase in mass as NASA targets bringing samples back from Mars to Earth over the next decade.”

Higher mass payloads require stronger parachute fabrics with minimum possible packed volume that can withstand intense heating process which ensures that microorganisms from Earth do not contaminate other planets. These special parachute fabrics must also be able to withstand low temperatures in transit and then successfully deploy at supersonic Mach numbers at their destination.

Heathcoat will be making a fabric that is 30% stronger than the competitor fabrics on a weight-for-weight basis before heat ageing and 80% stronger after heat ageing. Parachutes made with Heathcoat fabric have been successfully tested at high altitudes and supersonic speeds in order to simulate landing on Mars.                                                                  

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