South African engineer invents SpaceX parachute system

Date:17 February 2021 Author: Anita Froneman

South Africans never stop making their home country proud. Pele Collins, a South African SpaceX engineer has successfully designed the parachute system that brought back two NASA astronauts safely from the International Space Station.

Hailing from Johannesburg but now living in the United States, Collins was part of the SpaceX team working on the Crew Dragon Space Vehicle.

He spoke to Good Things Guy: “This was the first time astronauts launched from American soil since 2011 and the first return under parachutes (what I specifically work on) since Apollo (more than 50 years ago).

“Seeing them descend slowly under my redesigned parachutes will always be one of the highlights of my life, especially knowing that in the design of these parachutes we encountered a lot of real issues and, in some cases, catastrophic failure,” Collins added.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon was due to depart from the ISS on January 11, but poor weather conditions at its landing spot in the Atlantic Ocean in Florida delayed the departure to January 12. The spacecraft finally splashed down on January 13.

Picture: Twitter/Laurieneuco

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