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Title: Mass Properties Testing and Evaluation for the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator

Mass Properties Testing and Evaluation for the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator Mass properties (MP) measurements were performed for the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG), serial number (S/N) 0X730401, the power system designated for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. Measurements were made using new mounting fixtures at the mass properties testing station in the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Space and Security Power Systems Facility (SSPSF). The objective of making mass properties measurements was to determine the generator’s flight configured mass and center of mass or center of gravity (CG). Using an extremely accurate platform scale, the mass of the as-tested generator was determined to be 100.117 ± 0.007 lb. Weight accuracy was determined by checking the platform scale with calibrated weights immediately prior to weighing the MMRTG.a CG measurement accuracy was assessed by surrogate testing using an inert mass standard for which the CG could be readily determined analytically. Repeated testing using the mass standard enabled the basic measurement precision of the system to be quantified in terms of a physical confidence interval about the measured CG position. However, repetitious testing with the MMRTG itself was not performed in deference to the gamma and neutron radiation dose to operators and the damage potential to the flight unit from extra handling operations. more » Since the mass standard had been specially designed to have a total weight and CG location that closely matched the MMRTG, the uncertainties determined from its testing were assigned to the MMRTG as well. On this basis, and at the 99% confidence level, a statistical analysis found the direct, as-measured MMRTG-MSL CG to be located at 10.816 ± 0.0011 in. measured perpendicular from the plane of the lower surface of the generator’s mounting lugs (Z direction), and offset from the generator’s long axis centerline in the X and Y directions by 0.0968 ± 0.0040 in. and 0.0276 ± 0.0026 in., respectively. These uncertainties are based simply on the statistical treatment of results from repetitive testing performed with the mass standard and included position variations that may have occurred during several mounting/dismounting operations of both the mass standard and mounting fixtures. Because of the limited data available, the computed uncertainty intervals reported are likely, although not assuredly, wider than the intervals that would have been found had more extensive data been available. However, these uncertainties do not account for other contributors to measurement uncertainty that might be applicable. These include potential weighing errors, possible tilt of the as-mounted test article, or translation of the measurement results from the MP instrument coordinates to those of the test article. Furthermore, when testing heat producing test articles such as the MMRTG, measurement degradation can occur from thermal expansion/contraction of the mounting fixtures as they heat up or cool and cause a subtle repositioning of the test article. Analyses for such impacts were made and additional uncertainty allowances were conservatively assigned to account for these. A full, detailed description is provided in this report. « less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:980790
Report Number(s):INL/EXT-09-17458
TRN: US201012%%1214
DOE Contract Number:DE-AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:Technical Report
Data Type:
Research Org:Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org:USDOE
Country of Publication:United States