Months ago, when we began designing the parachute system, we decided to use springs to deploy the chutes. We chose springs because they are reusable and simple. We planned to spend no more then a month working on the parachute. However, after hundreds of hours of planning, designing, printing, testing, and redesigning, the spring powered parachute system still had problems. The release mechanism refused to work even after upgrading the servos. Alongside this, the strength of the springs also had the side effect of making the tubes hard to pack and putting the whole system under strain. While these are not major concerns at this time, they will likely cause more issues later. At this point, we decided to test if a CO2 powered parachute system was an option.
As we mentioned in our last post, the CO2 system was effective but we were unable to find the needed parts. At this point, we had tested two of our three original concepts for the parachute system. The last option was to use a pyrotechnic charge to launch the chute. Our preliminary research revealed that the regulations around the use of pyrotechnics are extensive and difficult to interpret.
At this time, we are continuing to search for a solution to any of these problems. In the meantime, have added two new pages to our site which you can check out here and here.