The performance capabilities of the Air Force C-5 and C-17 cargo aircraft, including their use at small, austere airfields, has been the subject of considerable discussion within the Department of Defense and the Congress.
Air National Guard pararescuemen from the 103rd Rescue Squadron, 106th Rescue Wing, New York Air National Guard, and West Coast-based Navy SEALs leap from the ramp of an Air Force C-17 transport aircraft during free-fall parachute training over Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Jan. 21, 2011.
U.S. Air Force Capt. Erica Stooksbury, a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft pilot with the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, adjusts the cockpit lighting controls in a C-17 over Iraq Aug. 30, 2014, after a humanitarian airdrop mission over Amirli, Iraq. Two C-17s dropped 79 container delivery system bundles of fresh drinking water, or 7,513 gallons. Two C-130 Hercules aircraft dropped 30 bundles, which contained 3,032 gallons of fresh drinking water and 7,056 meals, ready to eat. President Barack Obama authorized humanitarian aid deliveries to Iraq as well as targeted airstrikes to protect U.S. personnel from extremists known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. U.S. Central Command directed the operations. (DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr./Released)
 Pallets of bottled water are loaded aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft in preparation for a humanitarian airdrop over Iraq. Airmen with the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron airdropped 40 bundles of water for displaced citizens in the vicinity of Sinjar, Iraq.
 U.S. Army parachute riggers with the 11th Quartermaster Company, 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 82nd Sustainment Brigade palletize halal meals for a humanitarian airdrop over Iraq at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia.
 U.S. Soldiers with the 5th Special Forces Group, 101st Airborne Division and Joint Special Operations Task Force-Gulf Cooperation Council work with parachute riggers assigned to the 11th Quartermaster Company, Special Troops Battalion, 82nd Sustainment Brigade to palletize water for a humanitarian airdrop over Iraq at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia.
The president authorized U.S. Central Command to conduct military operations in support of humanitarian aid deliveries and targeted airstrikes in Iraq to protect U.S. personnel and interests, in response to activities conducted by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorists.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr, 7 AUG 2014.)
On Wednesday, August 26, NASA will perform another test of the Orion capsule’s parachute system. Engineers will test the system’s functionality if one drogue and one main parachute do not deploy. This risky test should still see the capsule land safely, albeit a little harder than if all three parachutes deployed properly.
Drogue parachutes are used to stabilize the capsule in the atmosphere following its fiery reentry so that the main parachutes an be safely deployed.
This is the second to last engineering test of the parachute system before tests begin next year to qualify them for crewed flights. The test will occur at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, where all Orion drop tests have been performed.
As seen in the photos above, an Air Force C-17 aircraft was loaded with the Orion Parachute Test Vehicle Monday, August 24.
A scenario in which one parachute fails to deploy has actually occurs on a previous crewed flight. Apollo 15, on its splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on August 7, 1971, saw one of its main parachutes deflated during their descent in the atmosphere.
Tech. Sgt. Donnie McCorkle watches a C-17 Globemaster III land Feb. 12, 2015, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. McCorkle, a C-17 loadmaster, was preparing the aircraft for a combat off-load, where cargo is pushed out of the cargo door while the aircraft is taxiing.
Members of the 41st Helicopter Maintenance Unit lift an HH-60G Pave Hawk onto a C-17 Globemaster III during rapid-on, rapid-off training at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. The C-17 aircraft holds the capability to transport two HH60s in a single flight.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dillian Bamman, 30 JUL 2015.)