Patent Number: 6,293,496

Title: Strain compatible attachment for metallic thermal protection system for a space vehicle

Abstract: A strain compatible attachment arrangement for releasably securing a plurality of metallic thermal protection system (TPS) panels to a space vehicle substructure to provide an outer mold line of the aeroshell of the vehicle. The TPS panels are spaced from the substructure to support aerodynamic loading on the TPS outer panel surface while isolating the outer panel surface from strains in the substructure and to isolate the vehicle substructure from direct thermal energy conductance though the outer TPS panel surface of the space vehicle. The attachment arrangement provides for a stand-off leg member to be secured at an inner end to the substructure and at its outer end to be releasably secured to a corner of a TPS panel, such panels being arranged in an edge abutting relationship. The outer end of each leg member includes a nutplate that is attached to such leg member by a clip and which has a locking portion that interlocks with a complementarily shaped locking insert positioned in a corner of a TPS panel to preclude rotation between the nutplate and the TPS panel when a bolt is inserted through the insert into locking engagement with the nutplate. Since each TPS panel is secured to each stand-off leg member from a position external to each panel, an individual TPS panel may be removed easily, as desired, for repair or replacement.

Inventors: Moe; Jeffrey W. (Chula Vista, CA)

Assignee: The B. F. Goodrich Company

International Classification: B64G 1/22 (20060101); B64C 1/00 (20060101); B64C 1/40 (20060101); B64G 1/58 (20060101); F16B 37/04 (20060101); F16B 5/02 (20060101); B64G 1/46 (20060101); B64G 1/64 (20060101); B64G 1/50 (20060101); B64C 001/00 ()

Expiration Date: 09/25/2018