2025. Proposed: SAWE “”Standard”” Coordinate System


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Richard Boynton: 2025. Proposed: SAWE ”Standard” Coordinate System. 1991.



When a mass properties engineer is asked to convey data on an object to another organization, the first thing he has to do is to define his coordinate system. Unfortunately, there is no standard set of coordinates used by mass properties engineers. This means that one person’s ”X” is another person’s ”Z” for the same vehicle. For example China Lake, Eglin AFB, and the Naval Air Station at Patuxent River all measure the same test items. China Lake and Eglin call the roll axis ”X” and define a positive number towards the aft end; Patuxent River calls the roll axis ”Z” and defines a positive number toward the forward end. This results in considerable confusion and requires that hours be spent by all three organizations translating data from one set of coordinates to another. This same situation is repeated at numerous organizations throughout the world. In fact, at large companies like Lockheed and Hughes, one department often uses a different standard than another department in the same company. This paper proposes that the SAWE adopt a standard set of coordinates and encourage all members to use this ”SAWE Standard.” It does not matter what the standard is, as long as everyone uses it.


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