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 »
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