The Test Centre has a series of machines to accurately determine the physical properties of spacecraft systems or subsystems. These machines include:
Weighing scales - the Test Centre can weigh items from a few grams up to five tonnes with a very high accuracy thanks to a set of state-of-the-art scales and calibrated weight standards.
Centre of gravity and moment of inertia - Several machines are available to measure an object's centre of gravity, moment of inertia and product of inertia. The latest in the family is unique by its capacity (able to handle five tonne specimens) and its operational principle. The specimen inertia is measured while the specimen is held very accurately in different orientations.
Depending on the mission, engineers may require that the spacecraft be perfectly balanced when spinning. The Test Centre is able to measure products of inertia, to balance or to spin spacecraft up to five tonnes, either in air or in vacuum, using SHENCK E5 and E6 machines.
Please contact Gaetan Piret, ESTEC Test Centre Manager: