2174. Measuring Mass Properties of the Brilliant Pebbles Satellite


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Richard Boynton: 2174. Measuring Mass Properties of the Brilliant Pebbles Satellite. 1993.



Small kinetic energy ”Kill Vehicle” satellites have very limited fuel capacity and consequently have tight mass properties specifications. To further complicate the measurement problem, these satellites do not have precision hard points or a smooth outer surface. This paper includes a brief overview of the Brilliant Pebbles program, with discussion of the unclassified aspects of the flight. It also presents the very complex measurement sequence which was required. Fixturing error is minimized by mounting the satellite in a precision cylindrical cage, determining its position in the cage using a coordinate measuring machine, and finally using a work reversal concept to eliminate the effects of fixture misalignment.


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