Parachutes are parts that when deployed slow down the speed of a craft in an atmosphere by creating drag. If/when part reuse becomes part of the game, it might become important to attach parachutes to detached booster stages to help try to recover them.
Parachutes are used on bodies with atmospheres such as Kerbin and Eve to slow the craft for a landing. The deceleration depends on both the mass of the craft and the density of the atmosphere. Therefore crafts that are either very heavy or land on bodies with thin atmospheres (Duna, Laythe) require either multiple parachutes or additional engines for a soft landing. Parachutes can also be used to aid with aerobraking to create additional drag. On the other hand, a heavier parachute part generates more drag than a lighter parachute. Parachutes can also be used to help stop space planes as they land.
Parachutes require a minimum air pressure to deploy, so they will work neither in higher parts of atmospheres nor in a vacuum (see Deployment). In addition, parachutes are cut automatically on the ground and can't be used, for example, to aid in slowing a landing aircraft once it's already on the runway. The part's mass isn't affected when the parachute is cut. A deployed parachute will cut automatically during descent if propulsion is used to increase vertical speed past zero.
A deployed parachute can also be cut manually (right-click on parachute and executing Cut Parachute). Once cut, they can be repacked by nearby Kerbals on EVA (right-click on parachute and executing Repack Chute). Repacked Parachutes can be deployed like fresh ones, although not automatically via the staging sequence.
There are currently four options for parachutes.
|Image||Part||Radial size||Cost (¤)||Mass (t)||Stowed||Semi-Deployed||Fully Deployed||Semi-Deploy Pressure (atm)||Full-Deploy Altitude (m AGL)|
|Mk2-R Radial-Mount Parachute||Radial mounted||700||0.15||0.22||1||500||0.01||500|
Parachutes deploy at different altitudes on different bodies, depending on the local atmospheric pressure. Rough deployment altitudes are shown below. Note that full deployment depends on height above ground, not pressure. Full-deploy altitudes can be found in the above table.
|Semi-Deployment Altitude (m)|
|Mk16 Parachute||43 502||23 026||8 987||73 132||17 528|
|Mk16-XL Parachute||43 502||23 026||8 987||73 132||17 528|
|Mk2-R Radial-Mount Parachute||43 502||23 026||8 987||73 132||17 528|
|Mk25 Parachute||45 999||24 809||10 057||76 699||18 955|