Any canopied device used to slow down descent from a high altitude. NASA's Mercury project craft used one 19-m parachute and a back-up to land capsules in the Atlantic Ocean, while the Apollo project employed three, each 27 m in diameter, for landings in the Pacific Ocean. Parachutes are also used for space atmospheric probes, such as Galileo's probe on Jupiter in 1995.
Space shuttle astronauts were originally given parachute packs on the back of their launch and entry suits, and these packs also contained a locator beacon for rescue.
Subjects: Warfare and Defence — Astronomy and Astrophysics.