Abstract: This invention solves problems associated with prior-art soft-dock mechanisms by placing all active components of a soft-dock system on the chaser side of the mechanism, leaving the target side of the mechanism completely passive (i.e., requiring no power expenditure or self-actuated moving parts to operate). In particular, the active components are supported on the end of a flexible cable attached to the probe, or chaser, side of the device. These components act as a sort of spring-loaded “trap.” Once the end of the probe passes into a receptacle on the target side, the mechanism is triggered, engaging it in such a way that it can no longer be pulled out of the receptacle until it is reset.
November 1, 2002
Date of Patent:
June 1, 2004
Michigan Aerospace Corporation
Pete Tchoryk, Jane Pavlich, Greg Ritter, Anthony B. Hays