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Portable NASA Program Simulates Cargo Airdrop Tests
August 12, 2011

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Innovators at NASA's Johnson Space Center have developed simulation software that predicts and analyzes the dynamics of a load of cargo dropped with parachutes from an aircraft. The Decelerator System Simulation (DSS) software analyzes the forces and motion of the entire system from the first motion in the aircraft until the payload reaches the ground. A desktop application comprises a Microsoft Windows® version of the original UNIX® operating system-based DSS. Microsoft Excel® spreadsheet software allows all inputs, post-processing, and plotting to be handled in the front end, making the system easier to use than the UNIX system-based version. Simulation output is plotted in 16 charts displayed on a separate worksheet, enabling plotting of multiple DSS cases with flight-test data. This software may be released to U.S. persons only.

Microsoft, Windows, and Excel are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the US and other countries.


  • User-Friendly: Features a graphics-intensive interface with pop-up instructions, execution, and plotting; includes error checking and case management capabilities
  • Efficient: Monitors and analyzes multiple cases over time
  • Flexible: Offers the ability to change the variables assigned to each plot; selected input parameters can be edited from the plot sheet for quick sensitivity studies


  • Analysis of NASA and military cargo airdrop tests

Licensing and Partnering Opportunity

This technology is being made available through JSC's Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office, which seeks to transfer technology into and out of NASA to benefit the space program and U.S. industry. NASA invites companies to consider licensing this technology for commercial applications.

Contact Information

If you would like more information about this technology or about NASA's technology transfer program, please contact:

Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office
NASA's Johnson Space Center
Phone: 281-483-3809
E-mail: jsc-techtran@mail.nasa.gov

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Page Last Updated: January 16th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator