Robert T. Bigelow - Las Vegas NV Russell J. Common - Henderson NV John Mezits - Las Vegas NV David A. Cavaleri - Henderson NV
Bigelow Aerospace Division, LLC - Las Vegas NV
244163, 244158 R, 165 41
The present invention provides a thermal, and if desired, a radiation barrier to protect the exterior surface of a spacecraft. In particular, the present invention protects the polymeric materials of construction utilized in inflatable and expandable spacecraft from the deleterious effects of both thermal and radiation aging. The protective barrier is formed from a tube or tubes through which a fluid circulates. The tube segment substantially enclose the spacecraft, and in particular, the critical layers that are desired to be protected. This protective barrier provides a thermal heat sink, temperature equalization, and a waste heat rejection system, that can moderate the temperature extremes encountered by spacecraft. In addition, dependent on the fluid selected, substantial radiation shielding can be provided that can protect the entire spacecraft.
Apparatus For Sealing And Restraining The Flexible Pressure Boundary Of An Inflatable Spacecraft
John Mezits - Las Vegas NV, Russell J. Common - Henderson NV, John A. Rusi - Las Vegas NV,
Bigelow Aerospace - North Las Vegas NV
2441583, 244158 R, 2441717
The present invention provides a sealing and restraint apparatus to establish a pressure boundary for inflatable or expandable spacecraft. The apparatus is capable of connecting the flexible pressure boundary of an inflatable spacecraft to the rigid structure of the spacecraft. The flexible pressure boundary of the present invention comprises a gas membrane and a restraint layer. The gas membrane minimizes air leakage. The restraint layer carries the forces created by the internal pressurization of the spacecraft. This apparatus provides a hermetic seal and the structural integrity necessary to resist internal pressurization forces.