Lightweight And Collapsible Or Foldable Patents (Class 136/245)
  • Patent number: 11418144
    Abstract: Aspects of the disclosure relate to high altitude or stratospheric balloon systems. For instance, a stratospheric balloon system may include a an upper structure, a lower structure, a platform associated with the lower structure, a stack of solar panels positioned on the platform, each solar panel coupled to an adjacent solar panel, at least one tension element connected, at a first end thereof, to the upper structure and, at a second end thereof, to the platform, and a first flexible tension member coupled, at a first end thereof, to the upper structure and to foremost solar panel of the stack of solar panels. Solar panels may be stacked in a “Z-fold” configuration with either solar cells of the adjacent solar panels facing one another or the frames of the adjacent solar panels facing one another. In this configuration, the adjacent solar panels are connected by a hinge system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 4, 2021
    Date of Patent: August 16, 2022
    Assignee: Aerostar International, Inc.
    Inventors: John Cromie, Peter Isaac Capraro
  • Patent number: 11381198
    Abstract: A marina solar energy system and method is provided. The system includes one or more base assemblies designed to support corresponding solar panel assemblies. For example, the system may include dock box lids with recesses adapted to receive and secure one or more solar panels, and an energy distribution system to receive and distribute the energy produced by the solar panel assemblies (e.g., to other areas of the marina, to a local power grid, etc.). The system also may include rechargeable power sources, such as rechargeable battery packs, that may store the energy produced by the solar panels. The system also may include electrical outlets for use by occupants of the marina.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 30, 2021
    Date of Patent: July 5, 2022
    Inventors: Ryan Steven McKenzie, Benjamin Norrie
  • Patent number: 11362619
    Abstract: Disclosed is a photoelectric conversion device that includes: a thin panel-shaped photoelectric conversion module; a first connection member that couples to an outer edge of the photoelectric conversion module at a joint so as to be electrically connected to the photoelectric conversion module; a reinforcing member that couples to a portion including the joint; and a main body that receives electric power supply from the photoelectric conversion module via the first connection member. The first connection member is mechanically and electrically attachable/detachable to/from the main body and has a thickness in vertical direction that is greater than a thickness in vertical direction of the photoelectric conversion module and less than or equal to a thickness in vertical direction of the reinforcing member at the joint.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 24, 2016
    Date of Patent: June 14, 2022
    Inventors: Midori Yamaai, Kiyoshige Kojima, Yuki Hayashi, Masayoshi Yoshida
  • Patent number: 11264523
    Abstract: Discuss is a solar cell module including a plurality of solar cells having a long axis and a short axis, each solar cell including a first electrode disposed on a front surface and a second electrode disposed on a back surface thereof, and the plurality of solar cells being disposed along a first direction, and a plurality of wiring members connected to the first electrode of a first solar cell and the second electrode of a second solar cell adjacent to the first solar cell among the plurality of solar cells, wherein a thickness of the plurality of wiring members is approximately 270 ?m to 320 ?m.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 7, 2019
    Date of Patent: March 1, 2022
    Inventor: Jinsung Kim
  • Patent number: 11247615
    Abstract: Features for a mobile solar generator. The system includes a deployable solar array using an actuator and torsion springs. The array can be locked into place after deployment. The array stows for transport of the system to remote locations. The solar panels of the array are unexposed when stowed, and secured into place using various locking mechanisms in both the stowed and deployed configurations. Tamper-resistant hardware is included in the solar array to prevent theft and damage.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 9, 2021
    Date of Patent: February 15, 2022
    Assignee: Halcyon Energy Systems, LLC
    Inventors: Russell A. Prentice, David J. McMillan
  • Patent number: 11239567
    Abstract: An antenna having a reflector mounted on a rigid boom uses a line feed or phased array feed to operate in the Ka band with frequencies up to 36 gigahertz while maintaining the ability to operate at frequencies down to L-Band of 1-2 GHz.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 7, 2020
    Date of Patent: February 1, 2022
    Assignee: TENDEG LLC
    Inventors: Gregg E. Freebury, Matthew Phillip Mitchell
  • Patent number: 11239792
    Abstract: The deployable solar tracker system comprises a single-axis solar tracker (1) including a plurality of foldable panel array sections (10, 10a). Each foldable panel array section (10, 10a) comprises a shaft section (11), a plurality of support ribs (12) hinged to the shaft section (11), a plurality of solar panels (13) attached to the support ribs (12) and a handling element (28) attached on top of the shaft section (11). The handling element (28) has one or more handle openings (29, 30) dimensioned for receiving one or more lift members oriented in a transversal direction perpendicular to the shaft section (11). The handle openings (29, 30) of the handling elements (28) of the plurality of the foldable panel array sections (10, 10a) are mutually aligned when the plurality of foldable panel array sections (10, 10a) are arranged in a shipping arrangement.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 20, 2018
    Date of Patent: February 1, 2022
    Inventor: Thomas McGregor James Grant
  • Patent number: 11201582
    Abstract: The present invention relates to new energy field, and more particularly to a tracking type portable thin-film solar power generating device. Conventionally, commercially available thin-film solar power generation devices have a fixed inclination angle and do not have a tracking function, which results in a low power generation capacity. Therefore, it is difficult to satisfy the needs of outdoor activities. Since photoelectric conversion rate is difficult to be effective improved in the short-term, how to increase the power generation of thin-film solar cells has become an urgent technical problem in the field of thin-film solar power generation. The present invention uses folded type and assembled type thin-film solar cells, articulated devices, and a driving device to form a movable support, so that an inclination angle of an integrated polygonal thin-film solar cell can be changed with time for tracking the sun.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 4, 2020
    Date of Patent: December 14, 2021
    Inventor: Jie Li
  • Patent number: 11183970
    Abstract: A test device for testing a solar generator of a satellite or solar drone, the solar generator includes an array of solar cells, each junction being capable of converting photons of a respective wavelength band into electric current, the test device includes: an array of light sources including at least one row of light sources, wherein each light source emits light in each of the electrical conversion wavelength bands of the junction(s) of the solar cells, and a control unit for the array of light sources, and capable of controlling the turning on and off of each of the light sources of the array individually, wherein the array of light sources selectively illuminates each solar cell of the solar generator by turning on one or more light sources of the array, with the solar cell receiving an irradiance that is greater than at least 130W/m2.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 12, 2019
    Date of Patent: November 23, 2021
    Assignee: Airbus Defence and Space SAS
    Inventors: Dominique Vergnet, Marc Sabathe
  • Patent number: 11165386
    Abstract: The present invention comprises a solar tracking portable structure with 2 axes orientation motors (elevation an azimuth) that integrates light semi-flexible solar panels technology with a particular design whose goal is to achieve the maximum lightness and manageability of the system. The system as a whole is portable and foldable, and the orientation of the motors is controlled by an electronic system. The tracking structure comprises three coupled substructures: a bottom substructure (1) permanently in contact with ground; a mid substructure (2) that rotates with respect to the bottom structure (1) in the horizontal plane (azimuth); and a top structure (3) that rotates with respect to the mid structure (2) in the vertical plane (elevation). The folding of the pieces that comprises the system is organised in 4 layers each of them occupying an area of the same size.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 15, 2019
    Date of Patent: November 2, 2021
    Inventor: Luis Casla Urteaga
  • Patent number: 11152523
    Abstract: A solar cell that includes: a semiconductor substrate that has a length in a first direction and a width in a second direction, the second direction being different from the first direction; a first conductive region that is coupled to the semiconductor substrate; and a first electrode that is electrically connected to the first conductive region, wherein the first electrode comprises: a plurality of finger electrodes that extend in the first direction; and a connection electrode that extends in the second direction, that electrically connects two or more of the plurality of finger electrodes to each other, and that is separated from the first conductive region, and a solar cell panel including the solar cell are disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 25, 2018
    Date of Patent: October 19, 2021
    Assignee: LG Electronics Inc.
    Inventors: Donghae Oh, Jinsung Kim, Haejong Cho
  • Patent number: 11081607
    Abstract: This solar panel includes a structure in contact with an ambient environment and at least two photovoltaic cells each defining a lateral contact face and including a base element, a grid of electric conductors and a protective element made from transparent material, the grid including at least one conductive wire extending along the lateral contact face. The two cells are arranged on the structure such that at least part of each of the lateral contact faces is arranged regarding the other part while forming a panel surface and such that the shortest path passing through the ambient environment between the opposite parts of the lateral faces of the two cells is equal to at least about 20 mm.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 4, 2018
    Date of Patent: August 3, 2021
    Inventors: Denis Payan, Virginie Inguimbert, Jean-Michel Siguier
  • Patent number: 11076668
    Abstract: Portable folding solar power generation cloth bags are disclosed. One implementation comprises left and right lining plates each having holes and fixed above a lower cloth cover, left and right solar assemblies fixed above their respective lining plates, an upper cloth cover overlaying both solar assemblies and sewn to the lower cloth cover with a gap between the left and right lining plates, and junction boxes associated with respective left and right solar assemblies and embedded into the holes of the left and right lining plates, wherein a connecting line between the left and right solar assemblies may penetrate through the lower cloth cover to extend therebelow. Further, light receiving surfaces of the left and right solar assemblies are configured for external exposure from the upper cloth cover, and a foldable joint may be formed at a gap position between the upper and lower cloth covers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 24, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 3, 2021
    Inventors: Jijun Cai, Dikai Lu, Dezheng Hu, Yan Qian
  • Patent number: 10994868
    Abstract: The PanelSat serves to launch one, better several satellites into space, whereby besides unfurling of the thin film solar cell panels off their rolls no further deployment is needed. PanelSats are small agile spacecraft thought especially for observation and communication services in LEO, which are using their thin film solar cell panels for both, harvesting electric energy as well as for fuel less station keeping, steering, pointing and propulsion. In contrast to conventional satellites with their 3-axis control design, PanelSats are not locked to only 3 axles and can tilt and point into several directions (depending on the number of panels). Besides Roller Reefing for fuel less attitude control PanelSats feature “Soso Steering” (switch on, switch off) which adds even better fuel less agility compared to prior art satellites.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 5, 2018
    Date of Patent: May 4, 2021
    Inventor: Frank Werner Ellinghaus
  • Patent number: 10991992
    Abstract: A system for supplying power to a portable battery pack including a battery enclosed by a wearable and replaceable pouch or skin using at least one solar panel is disclosed, wherein the pouch or skin can be provided in different colors and/or patterns. Further, the pouch or skin can be MOLLE-compatible. The battery comprises a battery element housed between a battery cover and a back plate, wherein the battery element, battery cover, and back plate have a slight curvature or contour. Further, the battery comprises flexible leads.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 14, 2018
    Date of Patent: April 27, 2021
    Assignee: LAT Enterprises, Inc.
    Inventors: Laura Thiel, Giancarlo Urzi, Carlos Cid
  • Patent number: 10978991
    Abstract: A panel connected body comprises: a plurality of thin panels arranged in a matrix of m rows and n columns; and a connection portion connecting the plurality of thin panels in a row direction and a column direction, wherein the panel connected body is foldable between adjacent thin panels of the plurality of thin panels. The connection portion has, alternately in the column direction, a first type row satisfying relationships D1?2L and Dy?Dy?1+2L and a second type row satisfying relationships Dn?2L and Dy?Dy+1+2L, where Dy is a length of the connection portion between thin panels P adjacent in the column direction at a yth column, and L is a thickness of each of the plurality of thin panels in a vertical direction.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 12, 2017
    Date of Patent: April 13, 2021
    Inventors: Yuki Hayashi, Kiyoshige Kojima, Masayoshi Yoshida
  • Patent number: 10958209
    Abstract: A deployable solar photovoltaic power generation system includes an array of photo voltaic panels mounted to expandable truss. In response to environmental input data, the array of photovoltaic panels can be deployed or stowed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 4, 2019
    Date of Patent: March 23, 2021
    Assignee: Lux Infinitum, LLC
    Inventor: Tristan Al-Haddad
  • Patent number: 10934027
    Abstract: A method for coupling an energy supplying device to an energy consuming device in space and to a system including an energy supplying device, an energy consuming device and a mobile assembly unit residing in space. The energy supplying device is operable in space and includes solar panel units to convert received light into electrical energy, first coupling members to couple the solar panel units with each other, and a second coupling member to electrically couple the energy supplying device with the energy consuming device. The energy supplying device is configured to supply electrical energy to the energy consuming device in space. A configuration of the solar panel units is changeable in space according to an operational requirement of the energy consuming device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 20, 2018
    Date of Patent: March 2, 2021
    Assignee: Airbus Defence and Space GmbH
    Inventors: Faris Ustamujic, Jens Birkel, Ramon Arroyo De La Fuente, Andreas Uebner
  • Patent number: 10930800
    Abstract: A modular photovoltaic system adapted for collecting light rays from a solar light source to generate electrical current, the system having a light-tracking solar collector adapted to collect the light rays, an edge-lit photovoltaic array, and a transport conduit adapted to transport the light rays to the edge-lit photovoltaic array. The edge-lit photovoltaic array has a plurality of edge-lit photovoltaic panels, each having a transparent diffusing pane positioned between two backing panels with inwardly directed photovoltaic surfaces. Each edge-lit photovoltaic panel perpendicularly contacts a lateral light distributor attached to the transport conduit, causing the transparent diffusing pane to illuminate the photovoltaic surfaces to generate electrical current. The light-tracking solar collector is adapted to rotate to remain oriented toward the solar light source.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 10, 2019
    Date of Patent: February 23, 2021
    Inventor: Carrick J. Pierce
  • Patent number: 10917036
    Abstract: An example device for mounting for a solar array may include a solar panel carrier configured to receive a solar array to form a panel assembly; a pivot configured to pivotably secure the solar panel carrier with respect to a support structure; and/or a restoring moment element operatively connected to the solar panel carrier and configured to exert a restoring moment on the solar panel carrier opposite in direction and approximately equal in magnitude to a gravitational moment of the panel assembly when the solar panel carrier is tilted to various angular positions. When the solar panel carrier is at a nominal angular position, a center of gravity of the panel assembly may be above and substantially vertically aligned with the pivot axis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 23, 2020
    Date of Patent: February 9, 2021
    Inventor: Jan Christopher Schilling
  • Patent number: 10899479
    Abstract: A controllable shape memory alloy (SMA) hinge apparatus comprises multiple SMA elements to effect a first angle of rotation and a second angle of rotation between a first object and a second object. In one example, respective SMA elements are independently activated by Joule heating to rotate the first object and/or the second object. SMA elements undergo a three-dimensional transformation, and a pair of elements may undergo antagonistic transformations so as to provide for a multiple-use bidirectional non-continuous rotary actuator. SMA elements may be trained to achieve different angles of rotations between the objects (e.g., zero degrees and 90 degrees). In some examples, the first object may be a spacecraft (e.g., a satellite) and the second object may be a deployable structure (e.g., a robotic appendage, a deployable solar panel, a deployable aperture, a deployable mirror, a deployable radiator, and at least one actuator to steer an antenna dish).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 11, 2018
    Date of Patent: January 26, 2021
    Assignee: Massachusetts INSTITUTE of technology
    Inventors: Kerri Lynn Cahoy, Christian Alexander Haughwout, Derek C. Barnes, Maxim Oleg Khatsenko, James R. Clark
  • Patent number: 10873186
    Abstract: Provided is a grid-mounted solar energy harvesting system, wherein the grid is operable to supply AC power independently of the solar energy system and comprises at least two pylons supporting one or more power lines, the solar energy harvesting system comprising: One or more solar panels longitudinally disposed between the at least two pylons, wherein at least one of the one or more solar panels is supported by two support cables extended between and attached to the at least two pylons and comprise one of the one or more power lines and one dummy line which is electrically conductive and is electrically connected in at least one point along the solar energy harvesting system to the power line.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 2016
    Date of Patent: December 22, 2020
    Inventor: Yehoshua Fishler
  • Patent number: 10868206
    Abstract: Disclosed is a thin film solar cell for BIPV capable of improving a utility value for the exterior by visually changing a black color of an inorganic thin film solar cell into a color of reflected light therefrom to exhibit an exterior appearance having the color without substantially lowering efficiency required for a solar cell to thereby facilitate commercialization of the inorganic thin film solar cell. Also disclosed is a thin film solar cell for BIPV capable of maintaining a maximum power conversion efficiency (PCE) required for a solar cell when used as a finishing material of a building envelope, and visually changing a black color of an inorganic thin film solar cell into a color of reflected light therefrom to be suitable for the exterior with only a slight reduction of relative harvesting efficiency and a short circuit photocurrent density without a decrease of an open circuit voltage Voc.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 11, 2017
    Date of Patent: December 15, 2020
    Inventors: Young Rag Do, Byoung Koun Min
  • Patent number: 10848095
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a solar power generation assembly and method for providing same involving an array of solar generating modules on a dual-incline structure, which can achieve high energy yields over a wide range of azimuths/orientations. The assembly consists of canopy wings providing for the dual-incline structure, where, depending on specifications, the canopy wings can differ in length, width, angle of inclination, structural material and solar module or other material mounted on the surface. The canopy wings may be pivoted or hinged to enhance the energy generation and/or other functional benefits of the assembly or system, including display elements, advertising, rainwater/precipitation and snow drainage and collection and energy transmission.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 6, 2016
    Date of Patent: November 24, 2020
    Assignee: SunPower Corporation
    Inventor: Laurence Mackler
  • Patent number: 10804839
    Abstract: The present invention typically features integrative configurability for transportation/storage, and disintegrative configurability for operation. Two half-cases are coupled to obtain a case. A case is uncoupled to obtain two half-cases. Each half-case houses a solar panel (pivotably connected to the half-case) and a U-bar (pivotably connected to the solar panel). The solar panel is pivoted away from the half-case's interior to the angle-of-inclination desired for collecting solar energy. The U-bar is pivoted away from the solar panel's back to securely fit into one of plural parallel slots provided across the half-case's interior, the U-bar thereby holding the solar panel in place at the desired angle-of-inclination. The half-cases are laid flat individually to collect solar energy. A half-case is “compacted” by pivoting the U-bar proximate the solar panel's back and pivoting the solar panel proximate the half-case's interior.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 12, 2018
    Date of Patent: October 13, 2020
    Assignee: The United States of America, as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: Clint Justin Govar, Evan Thomas Rule, Eric Bennet Shields, Anthony C. Suggs, Richard Patrick Hardy
  • Patent number: 10773833
    Abstract: A panel structure for use in a deployable and cantilevered solar array structure is provided. A panel includes first and second planar panel sections and an intermediate panel section connecting the first and second sections. The planar panel sections are capable of being situated with respect to one another so as to have a V-tent-like shape when the panel is in a deployed state and to be coplanar when the panel is in a stowed state. When in the V-tent-like shape, the intermediate section of the panel extends in a straight line that is collinear or parallel to the longitudinal axis of the cantilevered solar array structure when deployed. The V-tent-like shape produces A panel structure that has a relatively high moment of inertia, is stiff, and can provide a large area for supporting solar cells.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 30, 2014
    Date of Patent: September 15, 2020
    Assignee: MMA DESIGN, LLC
    Inventors: Thomas Jeffrey Harvey, Toby Justin Harvey, Ryan M. VanHalle
  • Patent number: 10749462
    Abstract: An example canopy includes a plurality of panels arranged in a plurality of rows and a plurality of sequences, including a first sequence, second sequence, and a third sequence. The second sequence is disposed between the first and third sequences and forms a rainwater collection channel The panels of the second sequence are angled with respect to the panels of the first and third sequences to optimize solar radiation and rainwater collection efficiency. Photovoltaic cells are provided on a flexible top surface of some or all of the panels. A hybrid canopy, a method of making a hybrid canopy, and a method of using and learning from a hybrid canopy, are shown and described.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 28, 2018
    Date of Patent: August 18, 2020
    Inventors: Constance Bodurow, Andrew Bradford
  • Patent number: 10737806
    Abstract: A method for solar array (28a, 28b) deployment includes deploying a first portion of solar cells of a solar array responsive to a first drag condition, charging a battery (26) with the first portion of solar cells, activating an electric thruster (24) at a first power level using the first portion of solar cells, deploying a second portion of solar cells of the solar array responsive to a second drag condition that is lower than the first drag condition, and activating the electric thruster at a second power level that is higher than the first power level using the first portion of solar cells and the second portion of solar cells.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 14, 2016
    Date of Patent: August 11, 2020
    Inventors: Kevin Kelleher, Dennis Morris, Rodney Noble
  • Patent number: 10742163
    Abstract: A portable PV module array, the modules being connected along adjacent end edges and being foldable relative to each other about the connected end edges between a closed condition and an open condition, whereby: in the closed condition, the PV modules are stacked together in a generally parallel and close facing relationship with the edges of the PV modules in general alignment, and in the open condition, the PV modules are disposed at an angle to each other so that the PV module array defines triangular configuration, and foldable movement of the PV modules from the closed condition to the open condition being restricted against movement beyond the open condition by a flexible connector that connects with a connection point associated with each of the PV modules of the PV module array and that is tensioned in the open condition and that is slack in the closed condition.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 5, 2015
    Date of Patent: August 11, 2020
    Assignee: 5B IP HOLDINGS PTY LTD
    Inventors: Eden Tehan, Christopher McGrath
  • Patent number: 10734941
    Abstract: The Structural Origami ARray (SOAR) concept is an extremely high performance, deployable solar array system that delivers high power output and exceeds state-of-the-art packaging efficiencies. Unlike existing Z-folding panels or rolled architectures, this approach utilizes an origami-inspired two-dimensional packaging scheme of a flexible blanket/substrate that is coupled with a simple and compact deployable supporting structure that stabilizes the array by external tension or internal support. This enables large deployed areas populated with high efficiency photovoltaic (PV) cells or antenna elements, which compactly stows in a square form factor with thin stack height that minimizes impingement on spacecraft bus internal volume.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 2018
    Date of Patent: August 4, 2020
    Assignee: LOADPATH
    Inventors: Sungeun K. Jeon, Joseph N. Footdale
  • Patent number: 10730643
    Abstract: A spacecraft includes a main body structure and a plurality of deployable modular reflector elements, the spacecraft being reconfigurable from a launch configuration to an on-orbit configuration. In the launch configuration, the modular reflector elements are disposed in a storage system that includes an arrangement for supporting the modular reflector elements with respect to dynamic launch loads. In the on-orbit configuration, in some implementations, an assembly of the plurality of modular reflector elements forms a large-aperture, offset fed, reflector, the reflector being coupled with a boom or yoke with the main body structure by way of a two or three axis positioning mechanism configured to steer the reflector with respect to the main body structure. In some implementations, in the on-orbit configuration, the plurality of modular reflector elements are assembled to form a large aperture reflective surface that is self-supporting.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 19, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 4, 2020
    Assignee: Space Systems/Loral, LLC
    Inventors: Jude Zils, Daniel Andrew Fluitt, Carey Graham Hijmans, Douglas William Dietz
  • Patent number: 10696428
    Abstract: A space-based solar power station, a power generating satellite module and/or a method for collecting solar radiation and transmitting power generated using electrical current produced therefrom, and/or compactible structures and deployment mechanisms used to form and deploy such satellite modules and power generation tiles associated therewith are provided. Each satellite module and/or power generation tile may be formed of a compactable structure and deployment mechanism capable of reducing the payload area required to deliver the satellite module to an orbital formation within the space-based solar power station and reliably deploy it once in orbit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 21, 2016
    Date of Patent: June 30, 2020
    Assignee: California Institute of Technology
    Inventors: Sergio Pellegrino, Harry A. Atwater, Seyed Ali Hajimiri, Manan Arya, Christophe Leclerc, Nicolas Lee
  • Patent number: 10683107
    Abstract: A release apparatus includes a base member and a channel having a first portion and a second portion. A first rod positioned within the first portion includes a first end portion having a first coupling device and a second end portion coupled to a first portion of a panel assembly. A second rod positioned within the channel's second portion includes a first end portion having a second coupling device such that the second coupling device is positioned proximate to the first coupling device. The second rod includes a second end portion coupled to a second portion of the panel assembly. First and second coupling devices rotate such that a linear force is generated between the first and second rods, enabling the first rod second end portion and the second rod second end portion to simultaneously release the first and second portions of the panel assembly, respectively.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 4, 2017
    Date of Patent: June 16, 2020
    Assignee: The Aerospace Corporation
    Inventors: Jerome K. Fuller, Alexander August-Schmidt, Geoffrey A. Maul, Cody L. Shaw
  • Patent number: 10676218
    Abstract: Disclosed is a spacecraft including a casing having a face, a radiator borne by the face, and a thermal insulation device borne by the radiator. The thermal insulation device includes: —a first screen device able to cover a first zone of the radiator, the first screen device including a thermally insulating and flexible sheet, and at least two springs capable of producing a constant reaction force, the springs being preformed in such a way as to wind up on themselves at rest and being fixed to the insulating sheet, the springs each having an end fixed to the radiator and a free end; and—a traction device able to pull on the free end of the springs to make the sheet cover the first zone and to release the free end in order to expose the first zone to space.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 23, 2017
    Date of Patent: June 9, 2020
    Inventors: Bernard Deltour, Sylvain Leconte, Christophe Berend
  • Patent number: 10674619
    Abstract: A power outlet system utilizing magnetic polarities in concert with electrical polarities to provide a connection system that automatically “rights” itself and cannot be powered incorrectly. Negative/Positive electric points are paired with south pole/north pole magnetic points on both outputs of power and inputs to receive power that align the negative/positive polarities on the outputs and inputs and provide opposing magnetic polarities so that the two connected pieces are always oriented correctly and easily connect to each other. Specialized modules are designed to connect to the power source which can be a portable unit that utilizes solar powered batteries or a wall unit that plugs into a wall electric outlet. A specialized module can be charged from the solar powered battery unit that requires no batteries itself and can be used as an emergency back up in the event of a power outage.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 5, 2018
    Date of Patent: June 2, 2020
    Inventor: Edward Lee Heffner
  • Patent number: 10618679
    Abstract: A deployment system for solar panels has the panels spring loaded to deploy, but held folded against a satellite framework, held folded by trigger bars engaging slots or notches in hinge bodies holding the solar panels. A remotely-operable linear actuator moves the trigger bars to disengage the trigger bars to release the panels to deploy.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 8, 2017
    Date of Patent: April 14, 2020
    Inventor: Andrew E Kalman
  • Patent number: 10581372
    Abstract: Modular photovoltaic (PV) panel, system, and method of mounting. The system including a mounting flashing configured to mounted to a mounting surface and a folding PV panel. The folding PV panel including: a first subpanel including first PV cells, wherein the first subpanel extends along a first lateral plane and comprises a plurality of mounting hooks extending laterally from and affixed to a backside of the first subpanel, the mounting hooks configured to couple to the mounting flashing; a second subpanel including second PV cells, wherein the second subpanel extends along a second lateral plane, wherein the second subpanel comprises a front edge support configured to hold a front edge of the second subpanel away from the mounting surface; and a hinge assembly rotationally coupling the first subpanel and the second subpanel to allow an angle between the first lateral plane and the second lateral plane to change.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 15, 2018
    Date of Patent: March 3, 2020
    Assignee: SunPower Corporation
    Inventors: Brian Wares, David C. Okawa, Tamir Lance
  • Patent number: 10577134
    Abstract: A separation device includes: an outer case; a pillar-shaped separation member including an engaging portion; a support member including a swinging portion and an engageable portion, the swinging portion being swingably supported by the outer case, the engageable portion supporting the separation member; an inner case including a fitting hole restricting swinging of the support member; and an operation-enabling element, which supports the inner case and which is fusion-cut when an electric current is applied thereto. When the operation-enabling element is fusion-cut, the inner case is displaced, such that: the engageable portion of the support member detaches from the fitting hole; the swinging portion swings; and the engageable portion moves away from the engaging portion to release the separation member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 24, 2015
    Date of Patent: March 3, 2020
    Inventor: Yoichi Horie
  • Patent number: 10554073
    Abstract: A solar power system comprising a solar panel, a load, and a battery pack group. The load comprising an electric motor operatively coupled with a propeller. The battery pack group comprises one or more voltage controllable battery packs, each of said one or more voltage controllable battery packs comprising a plurality of battery cells. The voltage controllable battery packs having a rigid printed circuit board electrically coupled with the plurality of battery cells, the rigid printed circuit board including an interconnect connector to electrically couple with a corresponding interconnect connector of a second voltage controllable battery pack.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 3, 2018
    Date of Patent: February 4, 2020
    Inventor: Adam Scott Ehrmantraut
  • Patent number: 10546967
    Abstract: A system for compact stowage and deployment of a flexible solar array includes a deployer unit and a blanket container for containing the flexible solar array. The deployer unit includes a frame, a closed-section collapsible mast for deploying and supporting the solar array, a mast stowage reel for supporting the mast in a collapsed stowed state, and an actuator to drive the mast from the stowed state to a deployed state. The frame has a first section extending along a vertical plane and a second section extending along a horizontal plane. The blanket container is pivotably coupled to the frame of the deployer unit. In a stowed state, the blanket container is oriented facing the second section of the frame. In a deployed state, the blanket container is oriented parallel to the vertical plane, and perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the mast.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 20, 2018
    Date of Patent: January 28, 2020
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventor: John L. Gibb
  • Patent number: 10528083
    Abstract: A cover for a mobile device includes solar panels and an integrated keyboard. The solar panels are positioned on a stand of the cover and an angle associated with the solar panels can be changed so as to maximize input from a light source. The cover can be used to supply power and keyboard input to a mobile device while in use.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 2, 2018
    Date of Patent: January 7, 2020
    Assignee: Microsoft Technology Licensing, LLC
    Inventors: Ankit Srivastava, Hari Pulapaka
  • Patent number: 10518908
    Abstract: A spacecraft, such as a satellite, uses a shape memory polymer actuator to deploy one or more deployable parts. The shape memory polymer actuator may be formed integrally with a deployable part and/or with a fuselage or other structure of the spacecraft, with the shape memory polymer actuator being for example a relatively thin portion of the shape memory polymer material of the integral structure. The shape memory actuator allows deployment of the deployable part(s) upon heating of the shape memory polymer material of the actuator, such as after the satellite has been launched into space. The heating may be caused by a heat source that is part of the spacecraft itself, or may be merely the result of exposing the spacecraft to solar heating after launch. The deployable part of the spacecraft may include any of a wide variety of parts that are used after launch.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 23, 2015
    Date of Patent: December 31, 2019
    Assignee: Raytheon Company
    Inventors: Frederick B. Koehler, Ward D. Lyman, Matt H. Summers, Jeremy C. Danforth
  • Patent number: 10479534
    Abstract: A system includes at least two spacecraft disposed together for launch by a launch vehicle. In a launch configuration, a second spacecraft is mechanically coupled with the first spacecraft by way of an inter-spacecraft coupling arrangement (ISCA). The system is configured to be deployed following injection into a first orbit by the launch vehicle, while the second spacecraft is mechanically coupled with the first spacecraft. The first spacecraft includes a thruster configured to execute an orbit transfer maneuver from the first orbit to a second orbit, the thruster delivering thrust along a thrust vector. In an on-orbit configuration, the ISCA is switchable between a first mode that permits rotation of the first spacecraft with respect to the second spacecraft about a first axis of rotation that is approximately parallel with the thrust vector and a second mode that prevents rotation of the first spacecraft with respect to the second spacecraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 2017
    Date of Patent: November 19, 2019
    Assignee: Space Systems/Loral, LLC
    Inventors: Varouj G. Baghdasarian, Andrew E. Turner, Albert L. Weitzel
  • Patent number: 10447198
    Abstract: A photovoltaic panel includes: a plurality of power generation portions each having a light receiving surface, each power generation portion including a plurality of power generating elements each configured to generate power in accordance with an amount of received light; and a coupling portion configured to couple each power generation portion, wherein each power generation portion is coupled so as to be rotatable about the coupling portion used as a rotation axis, and the power generation portions are capable of, by being rotated, taking a light receiving position at which the power generation portions are located such that the light receiving surfaces of the power generation portions are oriented to an identical direction, and a fold position at which the power generation portions are located such that a set of the light receiving surfaces of the power generation portions face each other.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 22, 2015
    Date of Patent: October 15, 2019
    Assignee: Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.
    Inventors: Koji Mori, Takashi Iwasaki
  • Patent number: 10435182
    Abstract: Techniques for two-axis articulation of a deployed spacecraft solar array are disclosed. In one aspect, an arrangement mechanically coupling a solar array with a sidewall of a body of a spacecraft includes a proximal appendage, a distal appendage rotatably coupled with the proximal appendage by way of a hinge, and a closed cable loop (CCL) system coupled with the proximal appendage and the distal appendage. In an on-orbit configuration, a long axis of the proximal appendage defines an ? axis that is substantially orthogonal to the sidewall. The hinge includes CCL disengagement mechanism configured to de-couple the CCL system from the proximal appendage and the distal appendage and a rotation driving mechanism configured to cause the distal appendage to rotate about a ? axis when the proximal appendage is in the on-orbit configuration, the ? axis being not aligned with the ? axis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 12, 2016
    Date of Patent: October 8, 2019
    Assignee: Space Systems/Loral, LLC
    Inventor: Varouj G. Baghdasarian
  • Patent number: 10411642
    Abstract: Various aspects provide for a solar assembly. The solar assembly may be a mechanical structure that allows many small solar cells to be integrated into the wing design of an aircraft without placing them on the surface area of the wing or the vehicle. Additional aspects may provide for an adjustable solar assembly. The adjustable solar assembly may be configured to be installed into a structure having a structural profile. When installed, the solar assembly may conform to the structural profile such that the structural profile is maintained. The solar assembly may further comprise an adjustable carrier system comprising a plurality of solar cells attached thereto. The adjustable carrier system may be configured to dynamically adjust the orientation of the solar cells so as to maintain an optimal angle with respect to an external light source.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 2, 2017
    Date of Patent: September 10, 2019
    Inventor: James L. Grimsley
  • Patent number: 10396224
    Abstract: According to one embodiment, a solar cell integrated film material includes a film material, a solar cell, a glass fiber sheet and bonding layers. The film material includes a heat-resistant fabric and a fluorocarbon resin layer formed on both sides of the heat-resistant fabric. The glass fiber sheet is provided between the film material and the solar cell. The bonding layers are provided between the film material and the glass fiber sheet, and between the glass fiber sheet and the solar cell.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 5, 2015
    Date of Patent: August 27, 2019
    Assignee: Chukoh Chemical Industries, Ltd.
    Inventors: Hidekazu Funo, Yoshihisa Fujita, Taisuke Yumura, Shigenori Tamura
  • Patent number: 10370126
    Abstract: A solar panel array assembly is provided that is adapted to transition between a stowed condition in which at least two solar panels are stacked and a deployed condition in which the solar panels are unstacked relative to the stowed condition and that exhibits a low-profile when in the stowed condition. In one embodiment, the assembly includes at least two solar panels, a flexible hinge connecting and extending between the panels that allows relative rotation of the panels to one another, a torsion bar for providing the force for causing the rotation of the panels for the transition between the stowed and deployed conditions, and a truss structure that transitions from a relatively flat, inoperative state when the panels are stowed to an operative state for use with deployed panels.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 23, 2014
    Date of Patent: August 6, 2019
    Assignee: M.M.A. DESIGN, LLC
    Inventor: Thomas Jeffrey Harvey
  • Patent number: 10364601
    Abstract: There are provided various implementations of a solar shade for covering a transmissive panel such as a window, door, sunroof or skylight of a vehicle, building, or home. Such a solar shade includes a photovoltaic sheet, which may be a flexible sheet. The solar shade is configured to absorb heat produced due to sunlight transmitted through the transmissive panel and impinging on the solar shade. The photovoltaic sheet is configured to generate an electrical current using the sunlight.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 31, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 30, 2019
    Inventor: Mark G. Piekny
  • Patent number: 10353187
    Abstract: This invention includes a flexible Fresnel lens assembly which can be efficiently stowed into a small volume, and then deployed with a mechanism, including structural elements, that provides tensioning at the ends of the lens assembly to position and support the lens assembly in proper position relative to a photovoltaic receiver, onto which the lens assembly focuses sunlight for conversion into electricity. The flexible stretched lens assembly includes a transparent prismatic polymer film, comprising a refractive optical element, attached to flexible cords, fibers, or wires that carry the bulk of the tension load in the stretched lens assembly when it is deployed in its final functional position. This present invention represents a critical and mission-enabling improvement to an earlier stretched lens array invention described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,075,200 (Reference 1).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 21, 2013
    Date of Patent: July 16, 2019
    Inventor: Mark Joseph O'Neill