Patent Number: 6,293,499

Title: Modular, producible, testable and serviceable spacecraft design

Abstract: A spacecraft comprised of a plurality of functionally organized, fully independent modules. Selected ones of the modules are moveable foldably in a "clamshell"-like manner between assembled positions, wherein various components of the spacecraft are generally not readily accessible, to a service position in which virtually all of the components of the spacecraft are substantially readily accessible for service or testing. Logically organized and routed harnesses comprised of numerous electrical and mechanical elements enable the clamshell-like folding movement of selected modules. Conventional electrical and mechanical connectors associated with the harnesses permit quick detachment and complete removal of selected modules from the spacecraft. The fully modular design significantly reduces the time required to gain access to the components on each of the modules and eliminates time consuming and extensive disassembly procedures that would ordinarily be required when performing service or test procedures on the spacecraft. The fully modular configuration also permits parallel manufacturing and testing of the independent modules, thus significantly reducing the design-to-market cycle time for the spacecraft. The modular design also facilitates replacement of selected modules with modified modules to produce derivative spacecraft or to tailor the performance of the spacecraft to better meet the needs of a particular mission.

Inventors: MacGillivray; Charles Scott (Orange, CA), Loosli; Bruce Glen (Kent, WA), Gerhardt; David Lee (Redondo Beach, CA), Weiss; Courtney Ross (Mission Viejo, CA)

Assignee: The Boeing Company

International Classification: B64G 1/10 (20060101); B64G 1/00 (20060101); B64G 1/22 (20060101); B64G 1/64 (20060101); B64G 001/00 (); B64G 001/22 (); B64G 001/44 (); F03H 005/00 ()

Expiration Date: 09/25/2018