Attitude Control Patents (Class 244/164)
  • Patent number: 11066190
    Abstract: A method of deploying a constellation of satellites includes using a single launch vehicle to deploy a plurality of satellites at an initial altitude on a same initial orbit, controlling said satellites such that an altitude of some of the satellites is modified while their inclination relative to an equatorial plane and a type of trajectory, of the some of the satellites, remains identical so that each satellite reaches a drift altitude selected from a drift set, with orbits of various satellites shifting relative to one another, and controlling the satellites to be moved sequentially in order to reach a same final altitude, said sequential movement being performed in such a manner that the satellites describe final orbits having trajectories with a same angle of inclination relative to the equatorial plane, a same apogee and perigee, and the same final altitude but presenting distinct longitudes for ascending nodes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 21, 2015
    Date of Patent: July 20, 2021
    Assignee: SAFRAN AIRCRAFT ENGINES
    Inventors: Frédéric Marchandise, Pamela Simontacchi, Perrine Mathieu
  • Patent number: 11066194
    Abstract: A method for the safe release of artificial satellite in Earth orbit includes the steps of providing an orbital transport spacecraft able to move at orbital height and comprising a plurality of PODs for releasing satellites transported by the orbital transport spacecraft, housing said orbital transport spacecraft in a space launcher configured to reach an orbital height; generating a release signal and transmitting it to the orbital transport spacecraft to release the orbital transport spacecraft from the space launcher, in case of failure to release the orbital transport spacecraft or in case of breakdown of the orbital transport spacecraft after releasing from the space launcher, activating a safety subsystem of the orbital transport spacecraft to generate a POD activation sequence to release the satellites.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 29, 2018
    Date of Patent: July 20, 2021
    Assignee: D-ORBIT S.P.A.
    Inventors: Luca Rossettini, Lorenzo Ferrario, Lorenzo Arena
  • Patent number: 11063362
    Abstract: A portable flat panel antenna system and method for using the same are disclosed. In one embodiment, the portable satellite antenna apparatus comprises a flat panel antenna and a container to house the antenna, the container having at least one radio-frequency (RF) transparent material through which the antenna is operable to transmit and receive satellite communications.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 7, 2019
    Date of Patent: July 13, 2021
    Assignee: KYMETA CORPORATION
    Inventors: Ben Posthuma, Adam Nonis, David Lamme
  • Patent number: 11049088
    Abstract: The present disclosure generally relates to user interfaces for managing peer-to-peer transfers. In some examples, a device provides user interfaces for initiating and managing transfers. In some examples, a device provides user interfaces corresponding to completed transfers. In some examples, a device provides user interfaces for providing visually distinguishable message object appearances based on message designation. In some examples, a device provides user interfaces for activating accounts for accepting and sending transfers. In some examples, a device provides user interfaces for exchanging accounts for use in a transfer. In some examples, a device provides user interfaces for splitting transfers between two or more accounts. In some examples, a device provides user interfaces for generating and displaying a transfers history list. In some examples, a device provides user interfaces for voice-activation of transfers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 7, 2020
    Date of Patent: June 29, 2021
    Assignee: Apple Inc.
    Inventors: Marcel Van Os, Peter D. Anton, Jared Crawford, Allison Dryer, Cas Lemmens
  • Patent number: 11014670
    Abstract: A method for the deployment of reconnaissance devices including buoy cameras and robotic devices in a target mission area of a remote location in space utilizing a maneuverable descent de-booster capsule and a buoyant vessel for the deployment is disclosed, including identifying the target area from an orbiting spacecraft; deploying the de-booster into orbit over the target area; initiating gradual descent of the de-booster in the atmosphere of the remote location in space; ejecting the buoyant vessel and its payload from the de-booster; filling the buoyant portion of the buoyant vessel with a lifting gas to cause the buoyant portion to become a large balloon; activating reconnaissance devices on the bay portion of the buoyant vessel, including video and other devices for monitoring and surveiling the target mission area; maneuvering the buoyant vessel to refine mission site selection; opening cargo bay doors at a predetermined altitude to deliver payloads including buoy cameras to the target mission area; ca
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 20, 2018
    Date of Patent: May 25, 2021
    Inventor: Kenneth Dean Stephens, Jr.
  • Patent number: 10981678
    Abstract: A system for providing spacecraft-based services, preferably including one or more spacecraft and one or more ground control elements, wherein the spacecraft can include one or more payloads associated with one or more organizations. A method for providing spacecraft-based services, preferably including receiving service requests, determining request assignments, and/or controlling spacecraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 23, 2019
    Date of Patent: April 20, 2021
    Assignee: Loft Orbital Solutions Inc.
    Inventors: Pierre-Damien Vaujour, Lucas Bremond
  • Patent number: 10830864
    Abstract: A system and a method for identifying and tracking unacknowledged marine vessels. The system includes a sensing system having one or more observation platforms positioned remotely above one or more marine vessels, each with a navigation system, and one or more payloads coupled to the observation platform(s). The payloads have one or more optical receivers to observe, geolocate, and receive optical emissions from the marine vessels to detect optical signatures. The payloads have one or more AIS receivers to observe, geolocate, and receive AIS emissions from the marine vessels to detect AIS signatures. The payloads have one or more RF receivers to receive RF emissions from the marine vessels to detect RF signatures. The payloads have at least one processor with an analysis software to process and analyze the optical, AIS, and RF signatures, to identify and track one or more unacknowledged marine vessels from the marine vessels.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 9, 2015
    Date of Patent: November 10, 2020
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventor: Erik S. Daehler
  • Patent number: 10779167
    Abstract: Methods and systems disclosed herein relate to determining a projected change in bandwidth demand in a specified area during a specified future time period, repositioning one or more balloons in a high-altitude balloon network based on the projected change in bandwidth demand, and providing, using the one or more balloons, at least a portion of the bandwidth demanded in the specified area during the specified future time period.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 14, 2019
    Date of Patent: September 15, 2020
    Assignee: Loon LLC
    Inventors: Eric Teller, William Graham Patrick
  • Patent number: 10763967
    Abstract: An apparatus for simultaneously receiving and transmitting data in space may include a receiver configured to receive an incoming beam transmitted from a source along a receive vector between the source and the receiver. The apparatus may also include a transmitter to generate a transmitted beam along a transmit vector. The apparatus may further include a single-axis gimbal configured to rotate the transmit vector about an axis substantially perpendicular to the receive vector, and an attitude-control system configured to rotate the apparatus about an axis parallel to the receive vector or the transmit vector.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 5, 2019
    Date of Patent: September 1, 2020
    Assignee: The Aerospace Corporation
    Inventor: Richard P. Welle
  • Patent number: 10649014
    Abstract: A method measures a frequency characteristic at a feed axis control unit configured to drive a motor in accordance with a velocity command value to control a velocity or a position of a movable portion of a driven body. The velocity command value includes a velocity reference value from a host device or a velocity command calculator and a sweep signal swept in order to measure the frequency characteristic. The method includes moving the feed axis in one direction by commanding the velocity reference value where a moving velocity of the feed axis is constant, exciting by providing a sine wave having an amplitude less than a magnitude of the velocity reference value to the sweep signal, and measuring the frequency characteristic of a feed axis drive system including the motor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 23, 2017
    Date of Patent: May 12, 2020
    Assignee: Okuma Corporation
    Inventors: Masashi Miyaji, Takashi Norihisa
  • Patent number: 10543939
    Abstract: An orbiting satellite can be maintained in a virtual orbit, having an orbital period equal to the natural orbit of a satellite at a different altitude, by equipping the satellite with at least one radial thruster. Radial thrusters on the anti-nadir-facing side of the satellite allow for virtual orbits higher than the natural altitude, while radial thrusters on the nadir-facing side of the satellite allow for virtual orbits lower than the natural altitude. This allows a satellite to evade threats, such as orbital debris and/or hostile spacecraft, without losing its relative position within a satellite constellation or experiencing the diminished services often attendant such maneuvers. Similar techniques can also be used for surveillance of orbiting satellites.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 11, 2018
    Date of Patent: January 28, 2020
    Inventor: Marshall H. Kaplan
  • Patent number: 10538342
    Abstract: Techniques for orienting an earth-orbiting spacecraft include determining, using a star tracker on board the spacecraft, a first vector aligned between an ecliptic pole of the earth and the spacecraft, adjusting attitude of the spacecraft so as to align a first axis of the spacecraft with the first vector, and rotating the spacecraft about the first axis until presence of the sun is registered. Rotation rates may be subsequently reduced, such that the sun remains within a field of view of the sun sensor or of a solar array of the spacecraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 23, 2017
    Date of Patent: January 21, 2020
    Assignee: Space Systems/Loral, LLC
    Inventor: John Hutton Cooper
  • Patent number: 10474252
    Abstract: Included herein is an electronic pen (100) with pen position detection, comprising at least a writing lead (113), at least an electric voltage source (103), at least one digital control unit (120) and at least one data transfer module (111), characterized in that the electronic pen (100) comprises at least three position determination sensors (105, 112, 104), wherein said determination sensors are configured such that from their measurement data an over-determination of the position and/or movement of the electronic pen (100) can be determined.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 17, 2014
    Date of Patent: November 12, 2019
    Assignee: Stabilo International GmbH
    Inventor: Karl-Peter Kaempf
  • Patent number: 10464694
    Abstract: A spacecraft includes at least a first thruster support mechanism (TSM) and a second TSM, each TSM including a pointing arrangement, an elongated structural member and thruster for performing orbit raising north-south stationkeeping, east-west stationkeeping, and momentum management. A first pointing arrangement is articulable only by way of first and second revolute joints, the first revolute joint being rotatable about a first axis fixed with respect to the spacecraft. The second pointing arrangement is articulable only by way of third and fourth revolute joints, the third revolute joint being rotatable about a third axis fixed with respect to the spacecraft. The first axis and the third axis are asymmetrically arranged with respect to a spacecraft coordinate system origin such that the first and third axis are at acute angles to a spacecraft pitch axis and the acute angle of the first axis is less than that of the third axis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 23, 2017
    Date of Patent: November 5, 2019
    Assignee: Space Systems/Loral, LLC
    Inventors: Robert Erik Schwarz, Jason J. Chiang, Xenophon H. Price, Darren R. Stratemeier, Eric V. Werner
  • Patent number: 10439705
    Abstract: Drone-based wireless communications systems are provided, as are methods carried-out by such wireless communications systems. In one embodiment, the wireless communications system includes a Satellite Signal Transformation (SST) unit and a plurality of aerial network drones, which can be deployed over a designated geographical area to form a multi-drone network thereover. During operation, the SST unit transmits a network source signal, which contains content extracted from a satellite signal. The multi-drone network receives the network source signal, disseminates drone relay signals containing the content through the multi-drone network, and broadcastings user device signals containing the content over the designated geographical area.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 5, 2018
    Date of Patent: October 8, 2019
    Assignee: DISH TECHNOLOGIES L.L.C.
    Inventors: Chris Hardy, Paul Bellotti
  • Patent number: 10382970
    Abstract: Methods and systems disclosed herein relate to determining a projected change in bandwidth demand in a specified area during a specified future time period, repositioning one or more balloons in a high-altitude balloon network based on the projected change in bandwidth demand, and providing, using the one or more balloons, at least a portion of the bandwidth demanded in the specified area during the specified future time period.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 17, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 13, 2019
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Eric Teller, William Graham Patrick
  • Patent number: 10371821
    Abstract: A navigation satellite signal reception apparatus includes a satellite antenna; a satellite orbital information collection unit that collects orbital information of a navigation satellite; a peripheral environment spatial information collection unit that collects spatial information for a peripheral environment of an installation position of the satellite antenna; a positional information collection unit that collects positional information for the installation position of the satellite antenna; and a signal correction unit that performs a determination process to determine whether a navigation satellite associated with the received satellite signal is in a directly viewable state or in a non-directly-viewable state from the installation position of the satellite antenna, and that performs a correction process on a satellite signal from a navigation satellite in an NLOS state, on the assumption that the satellite signal is a reflected wave.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 17, 2016
    Date of Patent: August 6, 2019
    Assignee: NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORPORATION
    Inventors: Keisuke Nishi, Seiji Yoshida, Takashi Hirose
  • Patent number: 10324161
    Abstract: Disclosed herein are embodiments of a balloon-based positioning system and method. In one example embodiment, a system includes a group of at least three balloons deployed in the stratosphere and a control system configured for: determining a first set of spatial relationships relating to the group; determining a second set of spatial relationships relating to at least a portion of the group and to a reference point; determining a position of the reference point relative to the earth; using the determined first set, the determined second set, and the determined position of the reference point relative to the earth as a basis for determining a position of a target balloon in the group relative to the earth; and transmitting the determined position of the target balloon relative to the earth.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 6, 2017
    Date of Patent: June 18, 2019
    Assignee: Loon LLC
    Inventors: Keith Bonawitz, Richard Wayne DeVaul, Eric Teller, Joshua Weaver
  • Patent number: 10315784
    Abstract: A CubeSat side panel with an additional storage compartment includes a satellite endcap, a hinge assembly, and at least one CubeSat component. A plurality of lateral lips and a top extremity of the satellite endcap delineate a storage compartment within the satellite endcap. The storage compartment allows the Cubesat component to be mounted upon an inner surface of the satellite endcap. The hinge assembly connects the satellite endcap to a frame of the CubeSat thus allowing the CubeSat side panel to open upward and away from the CubeSat. Resultantly, the hinge assembly provides easy access to the Cubesat component of the satellite endcap and other existing components that are positioned within the frame of the CubeSat.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 29, 2016
    Date of Patent: June 11, 2019
    Inventor: Matthew J Leonard
  • Patent number: 10220966
    Abstract: A satellite has thrusters that are integral parts of its frame. The frame defines cavities therein where thrusters are located. The thrusters may include an electrically-operated propellant and electrodes to activate combustion in the electrically-operated propellant. The frame may be additively manufactured, and the propellant and/or the electrodes may also be additively manufactured, with the frame and the propellant and/or the electrodes also being manufactured in a single process. In addition the thrusters may have nozzle portions through which combustion gases exit the thrusters. The thrusters may be located at corners and/or along edges of the frame, and may be used to accomplish any of a variety of maneuvers for the satellite. The satellite may be a small satellite, such as a CubeSat satellite, for instance having a volume of about 1 liter, and a mass of no more than about 1.33 kg.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 5, 2016
    Date of Patent: March 5, 2019
    Assignee: Raytheon Company
    Inventors: Frederick B. Koehler, Jeremy C. Danforth, Ward D. Lyman, Mark T. Langhenry, Matt H. Summers, Paul E. Pontius, Brian M. Pape, Jared D. Stallings, James K. Villarreal, Thomas Villarreal
  • Patent number: 10215785
    Abstract: A signal processing device includes a Kalman filter that extracts a DC component of an input signal by performing Kalman filter processing on the basis of observation noise and system noise which are estimated from the input signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 11, 2014
    Date of Patent: February 26, 2019
    Assignee: Seiko Epson Corporation
    Inventor: Hideo Haneda
  • Patent number: 10197381
    Abstract: The invention relates to the determination of the rotational position of a sensor by means of a laser beam emitted by a satellite. For this purpose, the sensor includes a rotational position determination device which has a laser beam detection device for detecting the laser beam emitted by the satellite. Moreover, the rotational position determination device includes a control device which is designed for determining the rotational position of the rotational position determination device based on the detected laser beam.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 11, 2015
    Date of Patent: February 5, 2019
    Assignee: Tesat-Spacecom GmbH & Co. KG
    Inventor: Stefan Seel
  • Patent number: 10184841
    Abstract: An apparatus on a satellite includes a standard fixed-path Michelson interferometer. The Michelson interferometer includes an input, at least one first output detector, and at least one second output detector. The Michelson interferometer includes a plurality of respective fields of view and a corresponding plurality of scanning azimuthal angles relative to a satellite velocity vector. The plurality of respective fields of view corresponds to a plurality of tangent points with constant tangent point height arranged around an Earth horizon circle. The apparatus includes an attitude determination and control system on the satellite, or an actuator on the satellite. The apparatus includes an input mirror and/or input optics in optical communication with the input of the Michelson interferometer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 13, 2018
    Date of Patent: January 22, 2019
    Assignee: The United States of America, as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: Christoph R. Englert, John M. Harlander
  • Patent number: 10167093
    Abstract: Provided is an apparatus for controlling an orbiting satellite by sensing a change in a yaw angle of the orbiting satellite and calculating a ground sample distance (GSD) based on the yaw angle. The apparatus may include a sensor configured to sense a yaw angle corresponding to yaw steering of the orbiting satellite, and a processor configured to calculate, based on the yaw angle, a GSD corresponding to a length of a pixel projected onto a planetary surface scanned by the orbiting satellite.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 27, 2017
    Date of Patent: January 1, 2019
    Assignee: KOREA AEROSPACE RESEARCH INSTITUTE
    Inventors: Moon Jin Jeon, Sang Rok Lee, Hui Kyung Kim, Eung Hyun Kim, Seong Bin Lim, Seok Weon Choi
  • Patent number: 10144531
    Abstract: Apparatus and methods for controlling a spacecraft for a transfer orbit. The spacecraft includes a propulsion subsystem with electric thrusters that are installed with two-axis gimbal assemblies. The spacecraft also includes a controller that identifies a target spin axis for the spacecraft, determines an actual spin axis for the spacecraft during the transfer orbit, determines gimbal angles for the electric thruster(s) that adjust the actual spin axis toward the target spin axis, and initiates a burn of the electric thruster(s) at the gimbal angles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 4, 2016
    Date of Patent: December 4, 2018
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: Alexander Jacob Sobel, Qinghong W. Wang, Gary Lemke, Timothy Lui, Kangsik Lee, Glenn N. Caplin, Troy Allen Fontana
  • Patent number: 10144505
    Abstract: A method includes receiving, at a flight management system of an aircraft, a required time of arrival (RTA) of the aircraft at a first location. The method includes receiving, at the flight management system, an input indicating an RTA index value. The method further includes modifying a speed of the aircraft based on the RTA and the RTA index value. The speed is determined by the flight management system as part of a flight plan of the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 18, 2015
    Date of Patent: December 4, 2018
    Assignee: THE BOEING COMPANY
    Inventor: Geun I. Kim
  • Patent number: 10122310
    Abstract: A tactile vibration control system and method for a smart terminal. The system includes: a command generator, a tactile driver, a linear resonant actuator, a sensing module, a feedback unit and a comparator; by arranging a plurality of sensors that monitor or sense the vibrating status of the linear resonant actuator, channels of the sensor signals are generated when the actuator vibrates; the feedback unit sends the sensing signals characterizing the physical quantities related to the vibration modes output by the plurality of sensors to the comparator as the feedback signal; and the comparator generates an error signal according to the feedback signal and a desired signal in the input signal and sends the error signal to the command generator so that the command generator adjusts the generated initial commanding signal according to the error signal and achieves the close-loop control of the linear resonant actuator.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 23, 2016
    Date of Patent: November 6, 2018
    Assignee: Goertek Inc.
    Inventors: Bo Li, Yongqiang Feng, Shasha Lou
  • Patent number: 10061008
    Abstract: A system and methods for calculating an attitude and a position of an object in space are disclosed. Measurements in relation to an object, stars, and a signal timing are received at a combined orbit and attitude determination system to provide received measurements. An estimated separation angle error, an estimated position error, and an estimated attitude error are estimated based upon the received measurements to provide estimated errors.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 8, 2015
    Date of Patent: August 28, 2018
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventor: John Y. Liu
  • Patent number: 10046867
    Abstract: Systems and methods are described herein for mounting a thruster onto a vehicle. A thruster mounting structure may comprise a first, second, and third rotational joint, a boom, and thruster pallet, and a thruster attached to the thruster pallet. The first rotational joint may be attached to the vehicle and configured to rotate in a first axis. The first rotational joint may be connected to the boom and configured to pivot the boom about the first axis. The boom may be connected to the second rotational joint, which is connected to the third rotational joint and configured to rotate the third rotational joint in the first axis. The third rotational joint may be connected to the thruster pallet and configured to pivot the thruster pallet in a second axis that is perpendicular to the first axis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 18, 2015
    Date of Patent: August 14, 2018
    Assignee: Orbital ATK, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael Glogowski, Philip Austin, Dominick Bruno, Andre Lentati
  • Patent number: 10040571
    Abstract: The present disclosure provides a computer implemented method of providing an indicator useful for piloting an aircraft. The aircraft comprises an antenna configured to communicate with a transceiver. The method comprises: obtaining an antenna envelope characterizing directions relative to the aircraft for which a directive gain of the antenna exceeds a predetermined threshold; determining a direction of the transceiver relative to the aircraft; calculating a maneuvering range of the aircraft by comparing the antenna envelope and the transceiver direction, wherein the maneuvering range is indicative of eligible orientations of the aircraft for maintaining the transceiver within the antenna envelope; and outputting data indicative of the maneuvering range.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 2, 2015
    Date of Patent: August 7, 2018
    Assignee: Elta Systems Ltd.
    Inventor: Nir Tidhar
  • Patent number: 10036830
    Abstract: A method of weather observations by a constellation comprises at least a first cluster of three micro-satellites each orbiting around earth, and each micro-satellites comprises a spectrometer. Orbiting the three micro-satellites of the first duster around the earth in three separate orbits offset with respect to one another. Staggering the three micro-satellites with respect to one another as they orbit. Selecting the offset and the staggering, of each of the three micro-satellites with respect to one another, so that each one of the three micro-satellites have a substantially identical viewing area as each one of the three micro-satellites orbits around the earth.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 31, 2015
    Date of Patent: July 31, 2018
    Assignee: BAE Systems Information and Electronics Systems Integration Inc.
    Inventors: Kevin R. Maschhoff, John J. Polizotti, Gerard M. Perron
  • Patent number: 10029806
    Abstract: Systems and methods for calculating launch sites for a satellite constellation are provided. A carrier aircraft may be configured to launch a first satellite into the first orbit and a second satellite into the second orbit. In some embodiments, information about an accessible range of the aircraft may be received. Based on the received information, a geographical area that the aircraft can access without landing may be calculated. Using received information and the orbit parameters of the first orbit and the second orbit, a first launch site for launching the first satellite and a second launch site for launching the second satellite may be calculated. The first launch site may comprise a first geographical position and a first launch time, and the second launch site may comprise a second geographical position and a second launch time. Both launch sites may be within the calculated geographical area.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 30, 2015
    Date of Patent: July 24, 2018
    Assignee: Orbital ATK, Inc.
    Inventor: John David Fuller
  • Patent number: 9963248
    Abstract: Apparatus and methods for controlling a spacecraft for a transfer orbit. The spacecraft includes a momentum subsystem that stores angular momentum relative to a center of mass of the spacecraft, and a propulsion subsystem that includes electric thrusters. A controller identifies a target spin axis for the spacecraft, determines gimbal angles for electric thruster(s) that so that thrust forces from the electric thrusters are parallel to the target spin axis, and initiates a burn of the electric thruster(s) at the gimbal angles. The controller controls the momentum subsystem to compensate for a thruster torque produced by the burn of the electric thrusters. The momentum subsystem is able to produce a target angular momentum about the center of mass, where a coupling between the target angular momentum and an angular velocity of the spacecraft creates an offset torque to counteract the thruster torque.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 4, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 8, 2018
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: Qinghong W. Wang, Alexander Jacob Sobel, Gary Lemke, Timothy Lui, Kangsik Lee, Glenn N. Caplin, Troy Allen Fontana
  • Patent number: 9878807
    Abstract: A thrust nozzle system is provided for a satellite designed to be stabilized in autorotation over a geostationary orbit, the satellite comprising three reference axes X, Y and Z, the Y axis representing the North/South axis and the Z axis corresponding to an Earth pointing direction. The thrust nozzle system comprises a first set of thrust nozzles configured for maintaining the satellite in station, the first set comprising an even number of thrust nozzles using electrical propulsion, with a pre-adjusted orientation, the even number being equal to at least 4, the thrust nozzles being oriented along three spatial components, and having, taken in pairs, different signs of X and Y components.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 25, 2014
    Date of Patent: January 30, 2018
    Assignee: Thales
    Inventor: Joel Amalric
  • Patent number: 9846040
    Abstract: A system and method are provided for determining the orientation of an inertial measurement unit (IMU). The method calculates a gyroscopic quaternion, and when the IMU accelerometer reading is about equal to gravity (1 G), a field quaternion is calculated using IMU accelerometer readings. Estimates are made of angular orientation errors due to IMU angular velocity and linear acceleration, and these angular orientation errors are used to selectively mix the gyroscopic quaternion and field quaternion to supply a current sample quaternion. Alternatively, if the accelerometer reading is not about equal to 1 G, the gyroscopic quaternion is used as the current sample quaternion. In one aspect, IMU gyroscope readings and IMU accelerometer readings are calibrated in response to determining a lack of IMU movement. Near-zero gyroscope reading jitter is removed by setting the IMU gyroscopic reading to zero, when the gyroscopic reading is near zero.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 2, 2015
    Date of Patent: December 19, 2017
    Assignee: Sharp Laboratories of America, Inc.
    Inventor: Bryan Hallberg
  • Patent number: 9832705
    Abstract: Methods, systems, and computer readable media for topology management and geographic routing in mobile ad-hoc networks are disclosed. One method for geographic routing in mobile ad-hoc networks includes receiving a first packet requiring routing at a first mobile node configured to operate in a mobile ad-hoc network where the first mobile node and other mobile nodes move relative to each other and are connected using directional wireless communications links. The method also includes performing greedy routing for the first packet, and in response to determining that no next hop neighbor node is closer to the destination than the first mobile node, performing face routing of the first packet, wherein performing greedy routing or face routing includes storing local topology information at the mobile nodes and using the local topology information when making routing decisions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 2, 2016
    Date of Patent: November 28, 2017
    Assignee: THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL
    Inventors: Benjamin Newton, Kevin Jeffay, Jayashree Aikat
  • Patent number: 9809328
    Abstract: Described herein are systems and methods for attitude determination using infrared Earth horizon sensors (EHSs) with Gaussian response characteristics. Attitude information is acquired by detecting Earth's infrared electromagnetic radiation and, subsequently, determining the region obscured by Earth in the sensors' fields of view to compute a nadir vector estimation in the spacecraft's body frame. The method can be applied when two sensors, each with known and distinct pointing directions, detect the horizon, which is defined as having their fields of view partially obscured by Earth. The method can be implemented compactly to provide high-accuracy attitude within small spacecraft, such as CubeSat-based satellites.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 11, 2015
    Date of Patent: November 7, 2017
    Assignee: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Inventors: Tam Nguyen Thuc Nguyen, Kerri L. Cahoy, Meghan K. Quadrino
  • Patent number: 9776741
    Abstract: The present invention provides a method for refined attitude control based on output feedback for a flexible spacecraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 7, 2016
    Date of Patent: October 3, 2017
    Assignee: BEIHANG UNIVERSITY
    Inventors: Lei Guo, Jianzhong Qiao, Ran Zhang, Peixi Zhang, Dafa Zhang
  • Patent number: 9702702
    Abstract: Methods and computer products for establishing at least one of attitude, direction and position of a moving platform. At least one skymark of known ephemeris is imaged at each of a first set of discrete instants by means of an optical sensor coupled to the platform. A measurement is also obtained of the attitude of the platform at each of a second set of discrete instants by means of an inertial navigation system. A recursive of estimation filter is then applied to successive skymark position vectors to update an estimate of platform navigation state, with the measurement of attitude of the platform tightly coupled to the estimate of platform navigation state as updated by the recursive estimation filter. Various techniques of frame stacking and multi-hypothesis tracking may be applied to improve the robustness of navigation solutions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 11, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 11, 2017
    Assignee: The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventors: Benjamin F. Lane, William W. Whitacre
  • Patent number: 9694917
    Abstract: A deployment algorithm that populate a group of companion satellites around a center satellite, and a control algorithm for maintaining the companion satellites in close formation around the center satellite.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 15, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 4, 2017
    Assignee: The Aerospace Corporation
    Inventors: Chia-Chun Chao, Brian E. Kirkpatrick, Victor Shiaw-Jong Lin, Siegfried W. Janson
  • Patent number: 9689684
    Abstract: An inertial measurement system for a longitudinal projectile comprising: a first, roll gyro to be oriented substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis of the projectile; a second gyro and a third gyro with axes arranged with respect to the roll gyro such that they define a three dimensional coordinate system; a controller, arranged to: compute a current projectile attitude from the outputs of the first, second and third gyros, the computed attitude comprising a roll angle, a pitch angle and a yaw angle; compare the computed pitch and yaw angles with expected values for the pitch and yaw angles; calculate a roll angle error and a roll scale factor error based on the difference between the computed pitch and yaw angles and the expected pitch and yaw angles; and apply the calculated roll angle error and roll scale factor error to the output of the roll gyro.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 16, 2015
    Date of Patent: June 27, 2017
    Assignee: ATLANTIC INERTIAL SYSTEMS, LIMITED.
    Inventors: John Keith Sheard, Nicholas Mark Faulkner
  • Patent number: 9587699
    Abstract: A tunable mass damper incorporates a frame and a voice coil supported in the frame. A magnet concentric with the voice coil is movable relative to the housing via the voice coil. A plurality of flexures having a first end extending from the magnet and an arm releasably coupled to the frame are adjustable to an effective length for a desired frequency of reciprocation of the magnet.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 30, 2015
    Date of Patent: March 7, 2017
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: Steven F. Griffin, Daniel Niedermaier
  • Patent number: 9574881
    Abstract: A method for controlling an antenna of a mobile communication application system based on double quaternions in MEMS inertial navigation. The method comprises: introducing an antenna control quaternion based on a navigation attitude quaternion; in each interrupt cycle of a navigation computer, updating the two quaternions respectively using a carrier system measured by a gyroscope relative to a rotation vector of an ideal platform coordinate system; in each filter cycle, correcting the error of the navigation attitude quaternion respectively using a Kalman filter; according to the relationship between the attitudes determined by the two attitude quaternions, determining the angular speed in an antenna control instruction; and finally, driving a servo system to rotate at an antenna servo control angle converted by an antenna control quaternion attitude.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 30, 2014
    Date of Patent: February 21, 2017
    Assignee: BEIJING AEROSPACE WANDA HI-TECH LTD.
    Inventors: Qingbo Yu, Jizhuo Men, Shulun Zhao, Rong Lang, Xiaobin Liu, Chunxiang Yang
  • Patent number: 9561873
    Abstract: A system and method for preventing a gimbal from exceeding a predetermined gimbal rate limit includes receiving a gimbal rate command and a gimbal rate feedback signal representative of sensed gimbal rate. The gimbal rate command and the gimbal rate feedback signal are compared, in a control circuit, to determine a gimbal rate error. A predetermined gain scaling factor is applied, in the control circuit, to the gimbal rate command to generate a scaled gimbal rate command. The gimbal is disabled when the gimbal rate error is greater than or equal to the scaled gimbal rate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 20, 2014
    Date of Patent: February 7, 2017
    Assignee: HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL INC.
    Inventor: Jose Dominguez
  • Patent number: 9551994
    Abstract: A dual stage vehicle attitude control system includes a first attitude control module having at least two momentum wheels arranged to provide zero momentum vehicle attitude control, each momentum wheel comprises a limited travel two axis gimbal that pivots the momentum wheel along two of the three axes of the vehicle, a second attitude control module having reaction wheels arranged in a pyramid configuration to provide vehicle attitude control along at least one control axis that is common with a control axis of the at least two momentum wheels, and a controller connected to the first attitude control module and the second attitude control module, the controller being configured to coordinate actuation of the first attitude control module and the second attitude control module to rotate the vehicle in at least one of three axes of a vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 15, 2015
    Date of Patent: January 24, 2017
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: Gregory S. Becker, Shanshin Chen, Dennis Y. Nakasone, Erin M. Hammons
  • Patent number: 9423255
    Abstract: A system and method for mitigating an occurrence of a dry spot, the method may include: (1) predicting the occurrence of the dry spot by at least one of determining a location of the occurrence of the dry spot, determining a date of the occurrence of the dry spot, and determining a duration of the occurrence of the dry spot; (2) generating a visualization of the occurrence of the dry spot, and (3) modifying a star catalog to reduce an impact of the dry spot by at least one of generating a set of modification to modify the star catalog, generating a modification schedule for modifying the star catalog, and uploading the set of modifications to the star catalog.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 19, 2014
    Date of Patent: August 23, 2016
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: Ryan Jirapong, David D. Needelman, Bradley W. Taylor, Patrick J. Moran, Michael G. Novean
  • Patent number: 9399528
    Abstract: A method for stationing a satellite, comprises: determining a predefined trajectory for stationing of the satellite based on a model of movement of the satellite; determining parameters of the predefined control law of approximation of the trajectory and by minimizing impact on the control law of deviation from a trajectory followed by the satellite using parameters of the control law; determining a state vector of the satellite; determining a deviation between the state vector and the predefined trajectory; determining Lagrange multipliers based on a current state vector of the satellite, on a deviation between current state vector and predefined trajectory and on parameters of the predefined control law; determining parameters of the current control law of the engines based on the Lagrange multipliers and by derivation of a parameter representative of an effect of engines on the real trajectory; and controlling engines based on parameters of the current control law.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 29, 2013
    Date of Patent: July 26, 2016
    Assignee: Thales
    Inventor: Thierry Dargent
  • Patent number: 9342108
    Abstract: An electronic device including a processor, at least one sensor in communication with the processor, wherein the processor is configured to determine an orientation of the device and drop event based on input from the at least one sensor. The electronic device further includes a motor in communication with the processor and a mass operably connected to the motor. The processor is configured to drive the motor when a drop event is determined and the mass is configured to rotate with respect to the motor to alter the orientation of the device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 2, 2012
    Date of Patent: May 17, 2016
    Assignee: APPLE INC.
    Inventors: Fletcher Rothkopf, Colin M. Ely, Stephen B. Lynch
  • Patent number: 9284071
    Abstract: The present disclosure relates to the deorbiting of satellites in low orbit that have entered safe hold mode. A device makes it possible to decide in an autonomous manner and on the basis of information existing in the satellite, when and where to trigger a series of short thruster manoeuvres to modify the satellite orbit with the aim of deorbiting.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 29, 2013
    Date of Patent: March 15, 2016
    Assignee: Thales
    Inventors: Damien Forestier, Laurent Houis, Sebastien Herbiniere
  • Patent number: 9067694
    Abstract: A system and a method for commanding a spacecraft to perform a three-axis maneuver purely based on “position” (i.e., attitude) measurements. Using an “inertial gimbal concept”, a set of formulae are derived that can map a set of “inertial” motion to the spacecraft body frame based on position information so that the spacecraft can perform/follow according to the desired inertial position maneuvers commands. Also, the system and method disclosed herein employ an intrusion steering law to protect the spacecraft from acquisition failure when a long sensor intrusion occurs.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 18, 2013
    Date of Patent: June 30, 2015
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: Dan Y. Liu, Richard Y. Chiang