As satellite on-orbit service operations become increasingly aggressive and complex (such as on-orbit refueling, rescuing, repairing, etc.), the need for identifying varied inertial properties of a satellite is becoming a critical task. The importance of this task stems from the dependence of spacecraft’s guidance, navigation and control system on these properties. In order to accurately control a spacecraft, its control system must be capable of fully identifying these properties as they change. Previous techniques use thruster firing or momentum wheels to accomplish this task. However a newly developed robotics based method requires measuring the spacecraft’s velocity changes only, which can be induced by an onboard robotic arm powered by solar energy. This paper gives a brief overview of this method and then focuses on the design of experimental verification of the method. The verification consists of a series of experiments including a simulated microgravity test onboard the NASA JSC Reduced Gravity aircraft in order to accurately simulate an environment similar to a flying satellite in orbit.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.