‘Chicken Gun’ Proves Essential to Revival of Space Shuttle Program

Chicken Gun NASA

NASA scientists have commandeered a chicken gun – a device normally used in aircraft safety testing to fire chicken carcasses into airplane windshields at flight speed, approximating the damage caused by bird strikes – to simulate the impact of loose tank foam hitting vulnerable parts of the space shuttle.

Urban legend has it that a group of foreign aerospace engineers once tried to use the American-made chicken gun in their own safety tests, with disastrous results — unaccountably, the poultrified projectile shattered every windshield sample it was fired at, no matter how thick.

U.S. experts brought in to solve the problem did so by passing along four simple words of advice: "Thaw the chicken first."

Will from Worcester, MA