MACDONALD, DETTWILER & ASSOCIATES INC.
|MACDONALD, DETTWILER & ASSOCIATES INC. Patent applications|
|Patent application number||Title||Published|
|20130249229||SPACECRAFT CAPTURE MECHANISM - The present invention provides a capture mechanism for capturing and locking onto the Marman flange located on the exterior surfaces of spacecraft/satellites. The capture mechanism achieves its goal of quickly capturing a target spacecraft by splitting the two basic actions involved into two separate mechanisms. One mechanism performs the quick grasp of the target while the other mechanism rigidises that grasp to ensure that the target is held as firmly as desired. The jaws can be set up to grasp gently, firmly, or even not close completely on the target. Once the jaws have sprung shut, a second mechanism draws the jaws (and their closing mechanism) back into the body of the tool pulling the captured target onto two rigidisation surfaces. The mechanism keeps pulling backwards until a pre-established preload is reached at which point the target is considered suitably rigidised to the capture mechanism.||09-26-2013|
|20130153710||Tool for accessing satellite fill/drain valves during propellant resupply - Herein is disclosed a tool, system and method for refueling on-orbit spacecraft. The tool and system are configured to allow for resupply of spacecraft configured to be propelled by either a bipropellant (oxidizer and fuel) or a monopropellant (typically hydrazine). The refueling tool is particularly suited for resupply of satellites not originally prepared for refueling but the system may also be used for satellites specifically designed for refueling.||06-20-2013|
|20130119204||PROPELLANT TRANSFER SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR RESUPPLY OF PROPELLANT TO ON-ORBIT SPACECRAFT - Herein is disclosed a propellant transfer system and method for refueling on-orbit spacecraft. The system and method are configured to allow for resupply of spacecraft configured to be fueled by either a bipropellant (oxidizer and fuel) or a monopropellant (typically hydrazine). The system and method are particularly suited for resupply of satellites not originally prepared for refueling as well but the system may also be used for as satellites specifically designed for refueling.||05-16-2013|
|20130103193||ROBOTIC SERVICING MULTIFUNCTIONAL TOOL - Herein is disclosed a multifunctional tool with replaceable tool tips. The disclosed multifunctional tool may be used as an end-effector on a robotic arm in space. Each tool tip, when in the tool holder, is driven by a common motor. The same motor can also be used to control the orientation of the tool tip about an axis. The tool tips are replaceable in the tool holder by simple and robust means, resulting in a lighter and cheaper multifunctional tool. The tool tips can be variously adapted to perform a variety of functions, including cutting, grasping, drilling, driving, etc. Since the tool may be driven by only one actuator, and the single actuator may be used to drive both the tool and rotation of the tool, mass can be saved. Use of such a multifunctional tool also reduces overall system power requirements, and system complexity.||04-25-2013|
|20120325972||ROBOTIC SATELLITE REFUELLING TOOL - A tool mounted on a servicer satellite for fuelling an unprepared or partially prepared client satellite. The tool includes a robotic arm mounted on the servicer satellite and a valve tool configured to be releasibly gripped by the robotic arm. The valve tool includes a housing with a support frame and a wrench mechanism mounted on the support frame. The wrench mechanism is configured for removing and replacing the first access valve cap on the first fill-drain valve and coupling a first propellant fill line to the first propellant tank optionally removing and replacing the second access valve cap on the second fill-drain valve on the second propellant tank and coupling a second propellant fill line to the second propellant tank, and actuating the valve actuation nut on the first fill-drain valve, and optionally actuating the valve actuation nut on the second fill-drain valve.||12-27-2012|
|20120112009||SATELLITE REFUELLING SYSTEM AND METHOD - The present invention provides a method, system and apparatus for robotic refuelling of satellites. The system may include a dedicated refuelling satellite launched directly from either earth, or alternatively it could be launched from another larger mother spacecraft or space station in which the refuelling satellite is ferried into space in the case of the larger space craft or it may be stored on the space station until needed from which it can be launched. The system includes a robotic arm, suitable tools which can be affixed to the end effector of the robotic arm required for accessing, opening and closing the fuel fill valve on the satellite being serviced, storage and retrieval stations on a tool caddy on which the tools and various fuel fill valve caps are stored. The system is under teleoperation by a remotely located operator, for example located on earth, in the mother station or in the space station. Cameras are included focussed on the robotic arm and end effector and images are transmitted to the operator to allow the operator to direct and control the refuelling procedure. The system may also be configured to be operated autonomously under computer control.||05-10-2012|
|20120080563||ROBOTIC SATELLITE REFUELING TOOL - A tool for fuelling an unprepared or partially prepared client satellite required for accessing, opening and closing a fuel fill valve on the satellite being serviced, storage and retrieval stations on a tool caddy on which the tools and various fuel fill valve caps are stored. The tool includes interchangeable socket modules, a support frame, a socket module holder mechanism, a socket drive mechanism, a clamping mechanism to secure the tool to a reaction area on the fuel fill valve and oxidizer fill valve, and a valve actuation mechanism. The interchangeable socket modules include a first module for removing and replacing the access valve cap, a second module for coupling the fuel fill line to the fuel tank, a third module for engaging the access valve cap on the oxidizer fill valve, and a fourth module for coupling the oxidizer fill line to the oxidizer tank.||04-05-2012|
|20120035798||GUIDANCE, NAVIGATION, AND CONTROL SYSTEM FOR A VEHICLE - The present invention provides a guidance, navigation, and control method and system for an underground mining vehicle that allow said vehicle to be taught a route by a human operator and then have it automatically drive the route with no human intervention. The method works in three steps: teaching, route profiling, and playback. In the teaching step the vehicle is manually driven by a operator (or using tele-operation whereby the operator views a screen displaying live views from vehicle-mounted cameras and using remote controls) along a route which can consist of an arbitrary sequence of maneuvers including tramming forwards, switching directions, tramming backwards, turning, or pausing movement. During this phase raw data from vehicle-mounted sensors including odometric sensors and rangefinders are logged to a file throughout teaching for later processing. During the (offline) route profiling step, the raw data in the log file are processed into a route profile including a vehicle path, a sequence of local metric submaps located along the path, and a profile of desired speed as a function of distance along the path. During the playback step, the vehicle automatically repeats the route that was taught during the teaching phase, as represented by the route profile. This is accomplished by first determining where the vehicle is on the route using a localization method which uses the odometric and laser rangefinder sensors and the local metric maps to determine the vehicle location. A steering control method adjusts the vehicle's steering to ensure it tracks the intended path. A drive control method adjusts the vehicle's speed accordingly and safety method ensures the vehicle stops in the event that an obstruction is on the vehicle's intended path.||02-09-2012|
Patent applications by MACDONALD, DETTWILER & ASSOCIATES INC.