NASA Crash-Lands Cessna Airplane to Test Emergency Response Systems

posted: 08/03/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
NASA crash test
NASA/David C. Bowman

NASA researchers recently sent a Cessna 172 aircraft plunging into the ground at the agency's Langley Research Center:

In a "violent but controlled" experiment, researchers tested the durability of emergency locator transmitters, small beacons that notify authorities when an airplane crashes. An airplane crash is rarely a graceful event -- as such, the transmitters are often damaged on impact, leaving rescuers unaware that their services are needed.

NASA Langley's Emergency Locator Transmitter Survivability and Reliability (ELTSAR) project aims to design transmitters that more reliably alert authorities after a violent crash.

Last week's realistic test provided researchers with 64 channels of data from the impact, which was captured by 40 cameras. All of the data was transmitted to satellites -- as it would be during an uncontrolled crash -- and then relayed back to Langley.

"The cool thing is we're using the whole system," said ELTSAR project manager Chad Stimson in a press release. "We get real-time feedback from space ... and we're getting first-of-its-kind data to help search and rescue get better outcomes."

Click here for more information from NASA

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