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In this paper a method for analysing aerodynamic characteristics of a rotating parachute in steady descending motion is presented. Because of a complex geometric configuration of the parachute associated with side vents and discontinuous skirts, special procedure was adopted to handle the geometry in the analysis. A panel method was successfully applied to the present problem and yielded good results using above procedure. A CFD code using the full Navier-Stokes equations was also applied and produced good results. Parachute free drop and wind tunnel tests were performed to determine the fully developed canopy configuration and aerodynamic characteristics. The method can be used for optimizing the parachute size and side vent configurations.