While in theory it is possible to recover boosters like the Solid Rocket Boosters of the Space Shuttle with parachutes, it's difficult in practice because all craft outside the 2.5 km sphere around the controlled craft while in the lower atmosphere are getting removed. The timing has to be so that the circularization of the orbit with the main craft is not while the boosters are in the lower atmosphere.
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
|Stowed||Semi-Deployed||Fully Deployed|| Semi-Deploy Pressure
| Full-Deploy Altitude|
|Mk2-R Radial-Mount Parachute||Radial mounted||700||0.15||0.22||1||500||0.01||500|
|Mk25 Parachute||Small||400||0.2||0.22||4||170||0.007||2 500|
Parachutes semi-deploy at different altitudes on different bodies, depending on the local atmospheric pressure. Rough semi deployment altitudes are shown below. In contrast to semi deployment the full deployment depends on height above ground, not pressure. Full-deploy altitudes can be found in the above table. With the tweakables added in version 0.23 the deployment pressures and altitudes can be modified. It is not possible to semi-deploy the parachute sooner. The tables show the default deployment altitudes and pressures.
|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|
- “Kerbal Space Program - Recovery And Reuse Tutorial in First Contract” on YouTube by Scott Manley