Earth Missions

Earth Missions

Many if not most space missions that use a parachute system land on Earth. These missions can be crewed or uncrewed, have flown to distant worlds or just remained in low earth orbit. Some missions fly extremely challenging re-entry flight paths with very high velocities or use parachutes with the goal of reusing rocket stages. 

Crewed Capsules

Several crewed missions have or are using parachute recovery systems. There are currently three nations that have demonstrated the ability to launch a human and safely recovering the astronaut. Other nations are well on their way to perform this feat or have dropped their plans. 

Uncrewed Capsules

The page on uncrewed capsules includes the future ESA Space Rider mission and touches upon the work performed on the Hermes, X-38 and X-37 missions. 


Spaceplanes are lifting body space ships that use their lift to fly to a designated area. A classic example is the US Space Shuttles, but there have been many more. 

Sample Return

Sample return missions are missions that fly to an object in space and return a soil sample for scientific analysis. They are often missions that have small entry capsules with very high entry velocities.


The idea of reusing rockets is one that has been around for quite some time. Some of these concepts used parachute system to recover their rocket stages. This page gives an overview of ideas and attempts to safely land a rocket stage with a parachute system. 

Sounding rockets

Sounding rockets are rockets that do not enter a stable orbit but fly a suborbital trajectory. These rockets often do not have significant atmospheric re-entry heat, but that does not make the EDL system less interesting. 

Amateur missions

Not every mission is organised and funded by governments or large companies. There are amateur space missions that attempt to shoot a sounding rocket into space, some even crewed!