5-4-3-2-1: Load cells are go!

Published On: June 6 2024

It’s been an amazing 10 years for space exploration, with missions and launches seemingly rising skywards almost every week.

This week it was the turn of Boeing’s Starliner capsule for a crucial (and already delayed) test flight with NASA astronauts onboard for the very first time. The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifted off from pad 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

It’s a bit like a short break away in space for the crew of commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore and pilot Sunita “Suni” Williams. They are due to dock with the International Space Station for what Spaceflight Now calls “a week-long stay.”

There is a lot riding on this launch, already delayed twice due to technical issues. According to Reuters:

“Starliner – seeded with NASA funding – to compete with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, which since 2020 has been the U.S. space agency’s only vehicle for sending ISS crew members to orbit from U.S. soil.”

 

Load cells in space

With our keen interest in aeronautics and space travel, we’ve written about some of the most exciting projects. Here is our top space articles countdown!

5. Splashdown! Artemis 1 Orion capsule returns safely to Earth

Artemis 1 has been one of our favourite projects, so it was a relief to see the test capsule splash down safely on Earth.

4. Letting you down gently: load cells and parachute testing

That capsule splashdown couldn’t have happen without the parachutes. We looked at the role of load cells in testing these seeming simple devices.

3. Is there life on Mars? Load cells help find the answers

Landing on a different planet is just the start of the adventure. As of March 2024, the Mars Perseverance Rover has travelled over 25 miles across the surface of the red planet since being deployed from the EDLS in February 2021. It’s been collecting samples too, with a little help from load cells.

2. The dark side of the moon

The Chinese Chang’e-6 probe is currently on a 53 day mission to collect samples from the dark side of the moon. According to a BBC news report:

“It is expected to make a soft landing in the South Pole-Aitken Basin, a vast depression which is 2,500km (1,553 miles) wide and up to 8km (5 miles) deep.It then aims to collect lunar soil and rocks, and conduct experiments, using a drill and a mechanical arm.”

1. Touchdown: lunar landings and load cells

Just why do so many lunar landing attempts in the past year or two, crash, fail or malfunction? We look at the multiple challenges of landing on the moon’s surface.

 

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Our load cells can be found testing everything from high performance cars to films and materials. If you need to test your product, contact us to discus your project.