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Customer Need / Challenge

    Spacecraft landing on a lunar or planetary surface require parachutes to deploy at high speeds under high loads. For example, NASA tested the Mars Science Laboratory parachute in an 80×120-foot wind tunnel at 80 mph speeds and loads up to 85,000 pounds.

Interface Solution

    A 1000-series fatigue-rated LowProfile™ load cells with eccentric load compensation is employed to sustain and measure high loads with 300% overload protection.


    Load cells ensure accurate measurement of applied loads during parachute deployment testing. Multiple tests allow engineers to test various parachute packing techniques.


  • 1000 Fatigue-Rated LowProfile™ Load Cells capacity up to 50K pounds-force (lbf).
  • REB-101 Heat Treated Steel Rod End Bearing.
  • INF-USB3 USB Interface Module.
    1. Support structure capable of sustaining required loads is built inside wind tunnel.
    2. A single load cell is installed as part of the support structure and connected to the parachute deployment system.
    3. After the wind tunnel is brought up to speed, a mortar launches the parachute, aiming toward the upper middle portion of the tunnel where speeds are highest.
    4. As the parachute canopy deploys, the load cell(s) measure the force applied with an accuracy of 0.03%.