With rare exceptions, the consequences of plane crashes for passengers and crew members on board are fatal. Is it possible in this situation to change something and make air and space travel safer?
This week, NASA's Langley Research Center unveiled a video of crash test dummies that simulate various situations typical of plane crashes. Unlike their counterparts, who participate in advertising campaigns, they are equipped with special sensors and equipment. Their weight - from 50 to 100 kg - corresponds to the weight of adults.
In experiments simulating a fall, mannequins were attached to passenger or spacecraft seats. So in March 2017, 10 dummies and a large amount of luggage (unclaimed luggage from airports in Alabama) were loaded into the fuselage of the aircraft, which "dived" onto the surface - hardened mud - from a height of 4.5 meters. As a result, the bags with luggage slightly damaged the floor, but the mannequins were practically not damaged.
In 2016, the Orion lander was subjected to a drop test. As you know, all American spacecraft returned to Earth by splashing down with the help of three main parachutes, so the capsule was dropped into a pool 6 meters deep, while there were 2 dummies in the astronauts' places.
In one case, they were wearing spacesuits, and in the other, they were completely "naked." The essence of the experiment was to understand how the spacesuit affects the ability to move when it hits the ground.