NASA Crashed Another Plane Today

Totally on purpose

Earlier this afternoon, another NASA plane crashed into the ground. On purpose. It’s been a big summer of NASA hurtling objects into the earth, with NASA deliberately crashing a Cessna in July, and earlier this week releasing a compilation of flying machine destruction footage. A “greatest hits”, if you will. Today, NASA sent another plane into the dirt:

Why? It’s not that NASA hates airplanes. Like the two tests earlier in July, NASA is looking at how an emergency transmission system holds up to rough impacts. The first crash simulation a low-level nose-first collision onto concrete, where the plane skidded on the surface. The second test was a nose-first dive into dirt, which just absorbed the plane’s impact and led to a definitely harmful and quite possibly lethal crumpling of the craft. This test was a tail-first crash into soil, which flipped the plane but didn’t crush it in on its crash-test-dummy occupants so much.

Emergency location transmitters attached to planes transmit the whereabouts of crashed planes to satellites, aiding in rescue. These crash tests are designed to see how well the transmitters work in extreme situations– making sure than when they crash, their occupants have the best possible chance of being safely found.

Watch the controlled crash from a bunch of angles below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFi0pLpq2OQ?
Kelsey D. Atherton

Kelsey D. Athertonis a defense technology journalist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His work on drones, lethal AI, and nuclear weapons has appeared in Slate, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and elsewhere.