L-3 Coleman Aerospace has successfully conducted extraction and airdrop of the jumbo drop test vehicle (JDTV) for use in Ares launch vehicles.

JDTV is a variable-weight vehicle used to test the United Space Alliance and Alliant Techsystems recovery parachutes of the Ares solid rocket first stage motor which will be refurbished to save money and protect the environment.

The JDTV is a large dart that contains the test parachutes and data systems and its weight can be adjusted from 40,000lb to 90,000lb to meet specific test objectives.

The JDTV, attached to a pallet, was extracted from a C-17 aircraft, then released from the pallet and allowed to accelerate before deploying the test parachute.

The airdrop is the third of six planned JDTV tests to support the development and verification of Nasa’s Ares I first stage recovery parachutes.

L-3 Coleman president Chris Anzalone said the test support will ensure future Ares parachutes to be safe and effective.

The airdrop was conducted with support from the US Air Force.