Irvin Aerospace has been selected by space transportation developer Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) for parachute systems for its Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 launcher’s first and second stages.

Irvin, an Airborne Systems brand, has provided parachute systems for NASA’s Space Shuttle programme and developed the recovery system for SpaceX’s Falcon 1 rocket’s first stage.

SpaceX’s seven crew carrying Dragon capsule, with its gross lift off weight of around 7,000kg (15,000lb), will have redundant deployment motors and drogues, with two of each. As well as the two drogues it will use three main parachutes.

“We designed Dragon to land at less than 1200ft/min (6.09m/s), which is 30% slower than Apollo,” says SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk.

The Dragon launching, liquid oxygen, RP-1 grade kerosene fuelled, Falcon 9 will also use motor deployed drogues. The rocket’s first stage has one drogue and four parachutes and its smaller second stage has one main parachute and one drogue.