US 9,809,329 B2
Systems for interconnecting dual manifested spacecraft
Richard William Aston, Brea, CA (US); and Michael J. Langmack, Huntington Beach, CA (US)
Assigned to The Boeing Company, Chicago, IL (US)
Filed by The Boeing Company, Huntington Beach, CA (US)
Filed on Jul. 14, 2014, as Appl. No. 14/331,029.
Application 14/331,029 is a continuation of application No. 13/490,945, filed on Jun. 7, 2012, granted, now 8,807,485.
Prior Publication US 2014/0319284 A1, Oct. 30, 2014
This patent is subject to a terminal disclaimer.
Int. Cl. B64G 1/64 (2006.01); B64G 1/10 (2006.01)
CPC B64G 1/641 (2013.01) [B64G 1/1085 (2013.01); B64G 1/645 (2013.01); B64G 2001/643 (2013.01)] 14 Claims
OG exemplary drawing
 
1. A system for interconnecting dual manifested spacecraft for launch by a launch vehicle, the system comprising:
a coupling mechanism configured to selectively and securely couple a first spacecraft to a second spacecraft, wherein the coupling mechanism has an uncoupled configuration, in which the coupling mechanism is configured to permit the second spacecraft to become mated with the first spacecraft, and a coupled configuration, in which the coupling mechanism is configured to restrict the second spacecraft from being demated from the first spacecraft, wherein the coupling mechanism is spring-biased to the coupled configuration, and wherein the coupling mechanism includes:
a plurality of pins configured to permit mating of the first spacecraft and the second spacecraft when the coupling mechanism is in the uncoupled configuration and to restrict demating of the first spacecraft and the second spacecraft when the coupling mechanism is in the coupled configuration;
a plurality of springs associated with the plurality of pins, wherein the plurality of pins bias the coupling mechanism to the coupled configuration; and
a pneumatic system configured to selectively translate the plurality of pins responsive to an increase in pneumatic pressure operative on the plurality of pins and against the bias of the plurality of springs to reconfigure the coupling mechanism from the coupled configuration to the uncoupled configuration thereby permitting mating of the first spacecraft and the second spacecraft, and to selectively permit translation of the plurality of pins under the bias of the plurality of springs responsive to a decrease in pneumatic pressure to reconfigure the coupling mechanism from the uncoupled configuration to the coupled configuration thereby restricting demating of the first spacecraft and the second spacecraft.