Patents Assigned to Blue Origin, LLC
  • Patent number: 11565628
    Abstract: A representative spacecraft system includes a launch vehicle elongated along a launch vehicle axis and having at least one stage carrying a corresponding rocket engine. The representative system further includes an annular support structure carried by the at least one stage and positioned to support a cargo spacecraft having a service module and a cargo module. The cargo module of the cargo spacecraft is positioned along the launch vehicle axis in a direction distal from the support structure, and at least a portion of the service module of the cargo spacecraft positioned within an annulus of the support structure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 29, 2019
    Date of Patent: January 31, 2023
    Assignee: Blue Origin, LLC
    Inventor: Michael David Johnson
  • Patent number: 11560243
    Abstract: A representative spacecraft system includes a connecting device, which in turn includes a housing having a common port opening, a first connecting element carried by the housing and positioned to connect with a corresponding first spacecraft connecting structure having a first configuration, and a second connecting element carried by the housing and positioned to connect with a corresponding second spacecraft connecting structure having a second configuration different than the first configuration. At least one of the first and second connecting elements is moveable relative to the other between an operational position and a non-operational position, and each of the first and second connecting elements, when connected to the corresponding first or second spacecraft connecting structure, is positioned to allow transport through the common port opening.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 22, 2019
    Date of Patent: January 24, 2023
    Assignee: Blue Origin, LLC
    Inventor: Michael D. Johnson
  • Patent number: 11555503
    Abstract: A rocket engine propulsion system having improved engine performance is described herein. The rocket engine propulsion system includes an axial counterbalance to reduce or eliminate axial thrust exerted on components of a turbopump. The axial counterbalance can allow for a larger range of axial thrust forces while coupling this ability to a rotational speed (e.g., rotations per minute, or RPM) of a shaft. The axial counterbalance includes a rack and pinion system in which the rack can be teeth extending circumferentially around a shaft and the pinon can be teeth extending outwardly from a swing arm perpendicular to the shaft. The swing arm is rotatably attached to a bracket which is constrained by a static support. The swing arm can also include a weight on an end of the swing arm opposite the end of the swing arm including the pinion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 9, 2022
    Date of Patent: January 17, 2023
    Assignee: BLUE ORIGIN, LLC
    Inventor: Jordan Marshall
  • Publication number: 20220397219
    Abstract: A gimbal assembly for a flexible conduit configured to convey a medium is disclosed herein. The gimbal assembly includes a first component including a first plurality of struts that terminate in a first socket defining a first cavity of a first geometric configuration. The gimbal assembly also includes a second component including a second plurality of struts that terminate in a second socket defining a second cavity of a second geometric configuration. A joint fastener is configured to couple the first socket to the second socket. The joint fastener includes a first portion that geometrically corresponds to the first cavity and a second portion that geometrically corresponds to the second cavity. The first portion is configured to be immovably seated within the first cavity, and the second portion is configured to be movably retained by the second socket such that the first component can rotate relative to the second component.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 10, 2021
    Publication date: December 15, 2022
    Applicant: BLUE ORIGIN LLC
    Inventor: Brock Steffen
  • Patent number: 11467003
    Abstract: A representative phase-shift based method for using a transformer system to detect movement of an object, and associated systems and methods are disclosed. A representative transformer system detects movement of an object and includes an excitation coil configured to receive an excitation coil input signal that results from an input sinusoidal signal. The transformer further includes first and second sensing coils, and a core configured to be operatively coupled to the object. The core moves relative to the first and second sensing coils when the object moves. First and second impedance loads are connected to the first and second sensing coils, respectively. The two impedance loads have different phase-shifting characteristics. A phase-shift sensing circuit determines a phase-shift between the excitation coil input signal and the input sinusoidal signal that is correlated with a position of the core relative to the first and second sensing coils.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 11, 2020
    Date of Patent: October 11, 2022
    Assignee: Blue Origin, LLC
    Inventor: Carlos G. Parodi
  • Patent number: 11460117
    Abstract: A ball valve is disclosed herein. The ball valve can include a non-planar seal disposed upon a rotating ball, the ball and seal contained within a housing, wherein the seal includes a first section and a second section, the first section oriented at a different angle than the second section. The ball valve can further include a mating surface disposed within the housing adjacent to the ball, the mating surface arranged to fully contact the seal when the ball valve is in a closed position, the mating surface including a first section and a second section, the first section oriented at a different angle than the second section. The seal and mating surface can be oriented so that the first section of the seal does not contact the second section of the mating surface when the ball is rotated between a closed position and an open position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 21, 2020
    Date of Patent: October 4, 2022
    Assignee: Blue Origin LLC
    Inventors: Andrew T. Ouellet, Kevin A. Westhoff, Tyler J. Baker
  • Patent number: 11391243
    Abstract: Seals for gimbaling and/or fixed rocket engine nozzles, and associated systems and methods are disclosed. A representative rocket propulsion system includes a rocket engine having an exhaust nozzle, a seal plate carried by the exhaust nozzle, and a seal engaged with the seal plate. The seal includes at least one support, multiple pivotable first flaps, carried by the at least one support and positioned to contact the seal plate, and multiple pivotable second flaps, with an individual second flap positioned to shield a corresponding individual first flap. At least one forcing element is operatively coupled to at least one of the individual first flap or the individual second flap, to apply a pivoting force to the at least one of the individual first flap or the individual second flap.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 9, 2020
    Date of Patent: July 19, 2022
    Assignee: Blue Origin, LLC
    Inventors: Nathaniel Cantor, Colin Patterson, Adam Norman, Christopher P. Hupf
  • Patent number: 11262014
    Abstract: Quick disconnect devices for high pressure fluid transfer, and associated systems and methods are disclosed. A representative quick disconnect system includes a first connector and a second connector. The second connector can have an opening sized and shaped to receive a first end of the first connector. The second connector can include a poppet positioned to open the first connector when the first connector is connected to the second connector. The second connector can include an inner sleeve moveable between a first position wherein the poppet head forms a fluid-tight seal with the annular seat of the inner sleeve, and a second position wherein the second end portion is open to permit fluid flow through the end portion of the inner sleeve. In some embodiments, the inner sleeve is pressure balanced in every direction.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 10, 2020
    Date of Patent: March 1, 2022
    Assignee: Blue Origin, LLC
    Inventors: Randall J. Strauss, William Goettler
  • Patent number: 11174818
    Abstract: A high temperature thermal protection systems for rockets, and associated methods, is disclosed. A representative system includes a launch vehicle having a first end and a second end generally opposite the first end. The launch vehicle is elongated along a vehicle axis extending between the first and second ends and carries a propulsion system having at least one nozzle positioned at the second end of the launch vehicle. A thermal protection apparatus positioned around the nozzle is used to provide cooling and/or insulation to the nozzle during the flight of the launch vehicle. The thermal protection apparatus can include multiple fabric layers and an insulation layer stacked and stitched together. The fabric layers can include metal alloy fibers. In representative systems, the thermal protection apparatus can further include provisions for water that saturates the insulation layer to provide further insulating and/or cooling effects.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 10, 2019
    Date of Patent: November 16, 2021
    Assignee: BLUE ORIGIN, LLC
    Inventors: Adam Keith Norman, John Paul Brendel, Christopher Patrick Hupf, Stefano Gulli
  • Patent number: 11174966
    Abstract: Fluid damped check valves are described herein. A representative check valve includes a piston assembly movably positioned within a housing. The housing can include a flow chamber, a damping chamber containing a damping fluid, and a leak chamber fluidly coupled between the flow chamber and the damping chamber. The piston assembly can include a poppet positioned in the flow chamber, and a flange positioned in the damping chamber. In operation, the piston assembly is movable between (i) a closed position in which the poppet sealingly engages the housing to at least inhibit fluid flow through the flow chamber and (ii) an open position in which the poppet disengages from the housing and permits fluid flow through the flow chamber. When the piston assembly moves between the open and closed positions, the flange moves through the damping fluid in the damping chamber to slow the movement of the poppet.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 9, 2020
    Date of Patent: November 16, 2021
    Assignee: Blue Origin, LLC
    Inventors: Justin K. Bahrami, Kyle J. Meeuwsen
  • Patent number: 10822122
    Abstract: Methods and systems for vertically landing space vehicles are described herein. In one embodiment, a reusable space vehicle lands in a vertical, nose-up orientation by engaging a system of cables suspended from an elevated framework during a controlled descent.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 27, 2017
    Date of Patent: November 3, 2020
    Assignee: Blue Origin, LLC
    Inventors: Douglas Lewis Grose, Sean Robert Findlay, John Michael Sanders
  • Patent number: 10518911
    Abstract: Vehicles with control surfaces and associated systems and methods are disclosed. In a particular embodiment, a rocket can include a plurality of bidirectional control surfaces positioned toward an aft portion of the rocket. In this embodiment, the bidirectional control surfaces can be operable to control the orientation and/or flight path of the rocket during both ascent, in a nose-first orientation, and descent, in a tail-first orientation for, e.g., a tail-down landing. Launch vehicles with fixed and deployable deceleration surfaces and associated systems and methods are also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 27, 2016
    Date of Patent: December 31, 2019
    Assignee: Blue Origin, LLC
    Inventors: Mark Featherstone, Frederick W. Boelitz, Roger E. Ramsey, David M. Biggs
  • Patent number: 10266282
    Abstract: Launch vehicles with ring-shaped external elements, and associated systems and methods. An aerospace system in accordance with a particular embodiment includes a launch vehicle having a first end and a second end generally opposite the first end, with the launch vehicle being elongated along a vehicle axis extending between the first and second ends, and having an external, outwardly facing surface. The system can further include an annular element carried by the launch vehicle, the annular element having an external, inwardly-facing surface radially spaced apart from, and extending at least partially circumferentially around, the vehicle axis. The annular element can have a first edge surface facing a first direction along the vehicle axis, and a second edge surface facing a second direction along the vehicle axis, the second direction being opposite the first direction.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 3, 2016
    Date of Patent: April 23, 2019
    Assignee: Blue Origin, LLC
    Inventors: Mark Featherstone, John Michael Sanders, Roger E. Ramsey, Eric David Wetzel
  • Patent number: 9580191
    Abstract: Vehicles with control surfaces and associated systems and methods are disclosed. In a particular embodiment, a rocket can include a plurality of bidirectional control surfaces positioned toward an aft portion of the rocket. In this embodiment, the bidirectional control surfaces can be operable to control the orientation and/or flight path of the rocket during both ascent, in a nose-first orientation, and descent, in a tail-first orientation for, e.g., a tail-down landing. Launch vehicles with fixed and deployable deceleration surfaces and associated systems and methods are also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 2014
    Date of Patent: February 28, 2017
    Assignee: Blue Origin, LLC
    Inventors: Mark Featherstone, Frederick W. Boelitz, Roger E. Ramsey, David M. Biggs
  • Patent number: 9487308
    Abstract: Launch vehicles with ring-shaped external elements, and associated systems and methods. A representative aerospace system includes a launch vehicle having a first end and a second end generally opposite the first end, with the launch vehicle being elongated along a vehicle axis extending between the first and second ends, and having an external, outwardly facing surface. The system can further include an annular element carried by the launch vehicle, the annular element having an external, inwardly-facing surface radially spaced apart from, and extending at least partially circumferentially around, the vehicle axis. The annular element can have a first edge surface facing a first direction along the vehicle axis, and a second edge surface facing a second direction along the vehicle axis, the second direction being opposite the first direction. A propulsion system can be carried by the launch vehicle, and can have at least one nozzle positioned toward the first end of the vehicle to launch the vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 15, 2013
    Date of Patent: November 8, 2016
    Assignee: Blue Origin, LLC
    Inventors: Mark Featherstone, John Michael Sanders, Roger E. Ramsey, Eric David Wetzel
  • Patent number: 9469418
    Abstract: Composite structures for space vehicles and other aerospace vehicles are disclosed herein. In one embodiment of the disclosure, a space vehicle pressure vessel includes composite panels or sidewalls with septumized core. In another embodiment, a splice joint for joining septumized composite panels in space vehicle structures is disclosed herein.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 8, 2015
    Date of Patent: October 18, 2016
    Assignee: Blue Origin, LLC
    Inventors: Emmanuel Grillos, Dennis Arthur Trimble, Douglas Lewis Grose
  • Patent number: 9217389
    Abstract: Rocket turbopump valves and associated system and methods. A valve in accordance with at least one embodiment includes a housing having a valve aperture, and first and second valve elements positioned in the housing and movable relative to the valve aperture between a closed position and an open position. Each valve element can be pivotably connected to the housing toward a first end and supported by the other valve element toward a second end. A drive mechanism is coupled to the first and second valve elements to pivot the valve elements toward and away from their open and closed positions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 10, 2011
    Date of Patent: December 22, 2015
    Assignee: Blue Origin, LLC
    Inventors: Gerald A. Lee, Michael C. Krene
  • Patent number: 9079674
    Abstract: Composite structures for space vehicles and other aerospace vehicles are disclosed herein. In one embodiment of the disclosure, a space vehicle pressure vessel includes composite panels or sidewalls with septumized core. In another embodiment, a splice joint for joining septumized composite panels in space vehicle structures is disclosed herein.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 16, 2011
    Date of Patent: July 14, 2015
    Assignee: Blue Origin, LLC
    Inventors: Emmanuel Grillos, Dennis Arthur Trimble, Douglas Lewis Grose
  • Patent number: 8991767
    Abstract: Vehicles with bidirectional control surfaces and associated systems and methods are disclosed. In a particular embodiment, a rocket can include a plurality of bidirectional control surfaces positioned toward an aft portion of the rocket. In this embodiment, the bidirectional control surfaces can be operable to control the orientation and/or flight path of the rocket during both ascent, in a nose-first orientation, and descent, in a tail-first orientation for, e.g., a tail-down landing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 7, 2014
    Date of Patent: March 31, 2015
    Assignee: Blue Origin, LLC
    Inventor: Mark Featherstone
  • Patent number: 8894016
    Abstract: Vehicles with bidirectional control surfaces and associated systems and methods are disclosed. In a particular embodiment, a rocket can include a plurality of bidirectional control surfaces positioned toward an aft portion of the rocket. In this embodiment, the bidirectional control surfaces can be operable to control the orientation and/or flight path of the rocket during both ascent, in a nose-first orientation, and descent, in a tail-first orientation for, e.g., a tail-down landing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 11, 2013
    Date of Patent: November 25, 2014
    Assignee: Blue Origin, LLC
    Inventor: Mark Featherstone