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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.



Additional Materials

  • Wind tunnel
  • Parachute package support structure
  • Customer Data Acquisition System
  1. Support structure capable of sustaining required loads is built inside wind tunnel.
  2. If the calculated load is less than the load cell capacity, a single load cell is installed as part of the support structure and connected to the parachute deployment system.
  3. Alternatively, multiple load cells are connected into an array and installed between the support structure and the parachute deployment system. A junction box connects the load cells to provide a single reading from the load cell array.
  4. 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.
  5. As the parachute canopy deploys, the load cell(s) measure the force applied with an accuracy of 0.03%.