We address some of the computational challenges involved in fluid–structure interaction (FSI) modeling of clusters of ringsail parachutes. The geometric complexity created by the construction of the parachute from ‘rings’ and ‘sails’ with hundreds of gaps and slits makes this class of FSI modeling inherently challenging. There is still much room for advancing the computational technology for FSI modeling of a single raingsail parachute, such as improving the Homogenized Modeling of Geometric Porosity (HMGP) and developing special techniques for computing the reefed stages of the parachute and its disreefing. While we continue working on that, we are also developing special techniques targeting cluster modeling, so that the computational technology goes beyond the single parachute and the challenges specific to parachute clusters are addressed. The rotational-periodicity technique we describe here is one of such special techniques, and we use that for computing good starting conditions for FSI modeling of parachute clusters. In addition to reporting our preliminary FSI computations for parachute clusters, we present results from those starting-condition computations. In the category of more fundamental computational technologies, we discuss how we are improving the HMGP by increasing the resolution of the fluid mechanics mesh used in the HMGP computation and also by increasing the number of gores used. Also in that category, we describe how we use the multiscale sequentially coupled FSI techniques to improve the accuracy in computing the structural stresses in parts of the structure where we want to report more accurate values. All these special techniques are used in conjunction with the Stabilized Space–Time Fluid–Structure Interaction (SSTFSI) technique. Therefore, we also present in this paper a brief stability and accuracy analysis for the Deforming-Spatial-Domain/Stabilized Space–Time (DSD/SST) formulation, which is the core numerical technology of the SSTFSI technique. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.