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Parachute Deployment

In this artist's rendering a Viking lander released its parachute just after entering the Martian atmosphere. When the parachute was deployed, the lander pod was at an altitude of about 6 km (4.0 mi) and traveling at a velocity of 900 kph (600 mph). Soon after, the lower half of the heat shield fell away and the lander's legs unfolded. At an altitude of about 1.5 km (5000 ft) the pod separated from the parachute and using three retro-engines to control its descent, landed safely on the surface of Mars.

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