I know these are old posts, and I may be duplicating what someone else has said, but I would like to clarify some things regarding chutes and capsules.<br />1. Mercury had both a main chute and a reserve chute. If the astronaut wanted to exit the capsule at sea, he had to remove a section of the instrument panel, push the reserve chute package out through the nose, and wiggle though the extremely small space where the chute had been. The reserve was never used.<br />2. Gemini had a main chute and the personal chutes in the ejection seats. The seats were never used.<br />3. Apollo had three main chutes and an impact attenuation system (the couches were in a shock absorbing framework) that, hopefully, would have let them survive a landing on only one chute. All the chutes deployed on all the missions (I believe, correct me on that).<br />4. Soyuz was under serious political pressure from the Kremlin to fly (or else). They were having problems with the chutes getting out of the extremely tight containers and knew that they were taking a terrible risk flying Soyuz 1. The chute problem was eventually fixed. It was more a problem of rushed work than anything inherently wrong with the chutes.<br />5. Regarding turnaround time on chute processing: it only matters if you have to re-use the same chute on that capsules next flight. Otherwise, you pull the next set off the shelf while your dirty ones are at the "cleaners".<br />This is an interesting thread. I'll keep reading. Thanks!