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The parachute is a life-preserving evacuation device that can be used to survive falls from high altitudes within a planet's atmosphere. The high surface area of the device increases the air resistance and counters some of the force upon the user or aircraft. The device does not appear to be used by any other race other than the Tau'ri.
Although the parachute is very crude compared to escape pods installed on larger vessels, it has been used by many military powers on Earth to escape damaged aircraft for a hundred years, but was invented much earlier for surviving high falls from buildings and natural heights.
When the second Stargate Program in Russia had not shut down their Stargate, the US sent SG-1 to investigate after certain readings were detected from Stargate Command. However, they were not able to land so they parachuted from the transporting plane. Teal'c deemed the parachute would not work but O'Neill push him off.
The X-301 Interceptor had an ejection system, but it was unknown if it was installed with a parachute. It is likely however, as it is required by health and safety laws, and the military does not appear to have invented a replacement yet.