The new type externally pressurized spherical air bearings used mass properties measuring instruments are studied which are particularly recommended for determining mass properties of rockets, satellites and ballistic objects. The air bearings are the key component of the mass properties measuring instruments. In order to provide some theoretical guideline for the structure design of the new type externally pressurized spherical air bearings, this paper analyzes static characteristics and the factors affecting the static characteristics of the new type air bearings. A finite volume method is adopted to discretize the three-dimensional steady-state compressible Navier-Stokes equations, and a modified SIMPLE algorithm for compressible fluid is applied to solve the discretized governing equations. The pressure field and velocity field of the air bearings are obtained, from which the carrying capacity, static stiffness and mass flow of the air bearings can be derived, and the factors and rules affecting the static characteristics are analyzed. The calculation method proposed in this paper fits well the general principle, which can be extended to the characteristics analysis of other air bearings.

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