In a recent (relatively, stopped playing for a while) update of KSP, drag is much more of an issue now. Prior to this update, the staging icon (the orange icon to the left of the screen while in flight) of the parachute would turn red only of the chute was destroyed in-flight for some reason. Now, it turns red if it is unsafe to deploy, OR if it's been destroyed. I had a rough take off, where I thought I was in thin enough air to prevent significant drag, but it turns out I wasn't, and my parachute icon turned red. Shortly after this, I achieved a successful orbit, and my craft is moving quite fast (as normal in orbit), so my parachute icon is still red. Even though I've seen this before on a good parachute (where the iron is red because of my speed), I'm not convinced that the chute is good enough to bring poor Jebidiah back home safely once I de-orbit. I don't have an engineer (nor can I EVA yet) to repack the chute in space if were to test it, so is there any other way I can tell if the chute is still good, and will be deployable later in the Kerbin atmosphere?
The parachute icon will turn red if it is unsafe to deploy. You can also do it by speed but I don't have the exact safe m/s it is to deploy, I think it's around 250 m/s.
Quote from the wiki:
Changes were made to the staging icons in version 1.0.5. The staging background colour now indicates whether or not it is safe to deploy the parachute, being light grey when safe to deploy or at rest, a yellow-green colour to indicate that deployment may be risky (at around 250 m/s on Kerbin for main parachutes, nearly twice this speed for drogues) and dark red at any higher speed. The foreground colour (i.e. the colour of the parachute itself) indicates the state of the parachute, starting at white (unstaged/undeployed) and running through cyan (released but insufficient pressure to semi-deploy), yellow (semi-deployed), green (fully deployed) and bright red (destroyed).
Here is the wiki link with more info on parachutes.
Actually it should be as simple as checking whether there's a button 'Disarm Chute' in parachute context menu.
- If you can disarm it, then you can (and should) disarm it in-orbit and then arm it after de-orbit burn when you get down to subsonic speeds.
- If your chute is armed & deployed (no disarm button) then it will definitely be destroyed by 'aerodynamic forces and heat' during re-entry.