The recovery system consists of two major components: the parachutes, and the ejection system.
There will be two parachutes in the recovery section of the rocket: the drogue chute and the main chute. The drogue parachute deploys at the apogee to slow the free-fall rate of the rocket. The main parachute will deploy at about 1000 ft and slow the descent rate of the rocket to about 20 fps. Check out this for more information on the concept.
Parachutes are slightly more complicated than they appear. If the chute is simply a circle cut out of fabric, it likely will be much less effective than one that is naturally hemispherical. Our Parachutes are made from multiple (6-12) gores to assemble the hemisphere.
The parachute will have two ejection systems. The drogue chute will be deployed via a pyrotechnic charge. This will expel it from the recovery section and slow the descent rate of the rocket. The drogue will be attached to the center of the large, main parachute and to a nylon line connected to the rocket. When the rocket reaches the appropriate altitude, a nickel-chromium wire will melt through this cord. This will allow the drogue chute to pull the main chute out of its compartment and ‘inflate’.
© 2015 Let's Build Rockets