Watch NASA dummies crash test flying and falling vehicles

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Watch NASA dummies crash test flying and falling vehicles

This week, NASA’s Langley Research Center published a video of the crash-test-dummies whose horrifying accidents make air and space travel safer for their human counterparts.

The dummies keep humans safer by giving scientists key data about whether bodies bend or break under different crash conditions. So they’re outfitted with sensors and instruments, and can vary in size from 105 to 220 pounds to simulate a range adult human bodies.

Then, the dummies are strapped into the seats of both aircraft and spacecraft and dropped. In March 2017, for example, 10 dummies and a whole lot of luggage from an unclaimed baggage center in Alabama (really) were loaded into an airplane’s fuselage, which was dropped 14 feet onto hard dirt. The bags damaged the plane’s floor in some spots, but the dummies suffered no major injuries. That information will be key for setting safety standards for new planes.

NASA researchers also used dummies in a series of crash tests in 2016 for the Orion crew capsule, which is intended to one day carry astronauts to deep space and back again. When it returns, the plan is for it to splashdown in the Pacific ocean, slowed by three main parachutes. NASA used a pair of dummies ‘ one large and one small ‘ in a mockup of the Orion capsule and tested them by dropping it into a 20-foot-deep pool, called the Hydro Impact Basin.

So, to the brave dummies at NASA enduring helicopter crashes, fuselage drops, and water landings in mockup spacecraft, we salute you. The safety of air travelers and NASA astronauts alike rests on your battered shoulders (and heads and necks).


‘Houston, We Have a Podcast’: The people of NASA have some good stories to tell

Podcasts are all the rage right now, and NASA has gotten into the game. ‘Houston, We Have a Podcast’ ‘ a play on the words uttered when a space ship lifts off ‘ is the official podcast of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and it is definitely a good companion when you’re out and about or just doing some spring cleaning.

Every week, the center, which is home to the International Space Station’s mission control and which trains humans for space flight, puts out the meaty podcast that will send you into the depths of the great beyond.

The podcast features plenty of astronauts reliving their greatest accomplishments and talking about their rigorous training. Recent episodes bring you audio from inside the Orion, the capsule that NASA is developing to carry a crew of four astronauts into deep space, and along Scott Tingle’s path from test pilot to astronaut. (Tingle is currently orbiting Earth in the International Space Station.)

Astronauts are not the only professionals showing their stuff, though. The show overflows with the voices of the engineers, researchers and mission control flight directors who develop and test NASA’s most complex technology and protect astronauts during their flights. There’s historical information on pioneering missions and space explorers, too.


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Watch NASA’s crash-test dummies take a beating to make aviation safer
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