Shock and Drop Testing Services

pyroshockATA Engineering can provide support for your shock or drop test. Shock testing is often performed as part of a hardware qualification or design process. Information obtained during shock testing can improve the survivability of products as well as verify that they will perform properly in service. Special consideration is usually required for this type of testing because it often consists of a one-time event or is too expensive to repeat. While backup data acquisition systems are sometimes required in order to minimize risk, these types of tests invariably require special transducers and measurement systems to record and process high-level, high-frequency response. ATA has these specialized transducers and measurement systems along with the personnel to assist in their installation and use.

We have experience in a wide variety of pyroshock, blast, drop, and separation type tests. ATA has the instrumentation support equipment and expertise in collecting shock test data to assist our customers in shock test performance. If you do not have the required shock application equipment, ATA can team with other facilities in conducting the test program. ATA can measure a shock event, evaluate data integrity, and postprocess data within minutes after shock test completion. It is important to evaluate shock data quality and we have the knowledge and experience to do so; integration of acceleration into velocity, time-history signal analysis, and evaluation of the frequency domain spectrum provide valuable insight to data quality. The shock response spectra (SRS) are typically used as the end product of shock testing. ATA’s IMAT toolbox can quickly and accurately compute the SRS for each measurement. Leveraging ATA’s hardware, software, personnel, and knowledge can provide timely results by enabling a shock testing program to be conducted quickly without compromising on quality.

Pyroshock Testing

A pyroshock event is typically used to separate multiple stages of a rocket, missile, or launch vehicle. An explosive device is detonated to break free or separate components, deploy a payload, or perform some other function. This blast causes both a mechanical shock wave and acoustic (airborne) shock wave that propagate through and around the structure. Characterizing this event is critical in component and isolation design to ensure that each component or subsystem can survive the event and perform its task.

ATA was the first company to utilize MEMS technology in a high-level shock sensor (model 3501A1260KG), developed by PCB Piezotronics, Inc., to measure acceleration within 1/2 inch of a pyroshock source. Levels above 60,000 G were successfully recorded.


Acceleration time domain response of a triaxial accelerometer during a pyroshock event.


Shock response spectra (SRS) computed for a triaxial accelerometer during a pyroshock event.

Drop Testing

touchdown-testingA drop event typically induces much lower peak G-levels and frequency content than a pyroshock event but still requires proper testing techniques and equipment to perform successfully. Drop testing can be used to evaluate product durability, packing material performance, isolator performance, or to simulate other shock events.

ATA has performed drop and impact testing for both aerospace and commercial customers. Structures tested by ATA include satellite transportation systems, military munitions, hand-held electronic devices, and sporting equipment. Smaller test articles may be tested at ATA’s test laboratory in San Diego, while larger test articles can be tested at the customer’s facilities.