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  1. #1
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    Rocket parachute material

    In a couple of weeks I will have access to a parachute used to recover a sounding rocket. I can find lots of info on taffeta and specialty fabrics, but am having a hard time finding info on actual parachute material for making hammocks.

    I am on the team that built and launched the rocket, and would really love to make a hammock out of a chute used to recover our payload. A "space hammock" ! We flew to an apogee of 210 miles. For reference, "outer space" starts at 60 miles and the ISS orbits at 254 miles.

    I am on the electrical team, so I dont know the details of the chute, but can find out from our flight performance dept. Is there a specific parachute material, or specifications that are needed for use as a hammock?

    Along with the actual chute, I have the lines as well (although it will take me a few days to untangle them!) I believe they are kevlar, but they looked like white 550 cord to me. I have gray amsteel on my hammock now. Anyone know if kevlar (if they are kevlar) has any benefits over amsteel? I love my whoopie slings, so this stuff would have to be phenomenal for me to give up on amsteel.

    Thanks for any info/help. I'll come back with the chute specs when I get that info.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cruiser51's Avatar
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    Kevlar degrades pretty quickly if you expose it to UV, so likely not good for suspension .... unless you keep it covered

  3. #3
    Phantom Grappler's Avatar
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    Parachute cord may or may not be strong enough to use a hammock suspension. But it might stretch; built in “give” to prevent breaking when parachute deployed. Use non stretch hammock suspension ropes and straps, if possible.
    I’d like to see pictures of your new hammock, in piney woods

  4. #4
    Phantom Grappler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cruiser51 View Post
    Kevlar degrades pretty quickly if you expose it to UV, so likely not good for suspension .... unless you keep it covered
    Some use Kevlar straps, and usually they are mainly used at night. Maybe a dozen camping trips a year, and still going strong.

    Is the parachute fabric Kevlar?

  5. #5
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    If the lines are 550 cord, I will not be using them for suspension.

    The chute itself felt like nylon or polyester. It was rip stop too.

  6. #6
    The lines are more than likely Dacron. Can you post a close up pic of the line? What diameter is the chute, and what is the weight of the recovery payload?

  7. #7
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    I wish I could - it's in a zero box on it's way back to the east coast from New Mexico. It will be about 2 weeks before it makes it's way back. Payload was just shy of 1,000 pounds. I just got back yesterday, and took today off, so I'll have to wait until I go in tomorrow to talk with flight performance.

  8. #8

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    Wallops Island is a really cool place. I've been there a few times for Navy stuff.

  9. #9
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    Yeah, I like it here. Exciting work for sure. I'm eager to get our shipment back from the field so I can unpack the chute and lines. I wasnt able to get a good look at it after recovery because we were more concerned with the payload than the chute. I'm not even sure if there are big enough "seamless" sections to make a hammock. I just didnt want to turn down the chute when it was offered I guess having a seam in an odd spot won't ruin the hammock, just hope it isnt terribly uncomfortable - if it's even an issue.

  10. #10
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    Once I look at it, if there are nice big sections, I'd be more than willing to share, if anyone else is interested in the material. If I can make one hammock, I'm pretty sure there will be enough material for more (says man trying to offload "stuff" because he has too much "stuff" already)

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