Aerodynamic braking system for recovering a space vehicle

  • US 4,896,847 A
  • Filed: 11/02/1988
  • Issued: 01/30/1990
  • Est. Priority Date: 11/02/1988
  • Status: Expired due to Fees
First Claim
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1. An aerobrake for an orbital transit vehicle that includes a central adapter connected at one end of the vehicle and a payload adapter ring that couples the adapter to a payload, the payload adapter ring being decoupled from the central adapter after the payload has been deployed, the aerobrake comprising:

  • a flexible thermal blanket means that is adapted to be folded longitudinally against itself in an annular folded shape to surround the central adapter and payload adapter ring when the aerobrake is in a stowed position;

    hinged panel means connected to the thermal blanket and arranged to support the thermal blanket in its inwardly folded position when the aerobrake is stowed; and

    power hinge means carried by the orbital transfer vehicle and adapted to selectively drive the hinged panel means to an extended deployed position and to support the thermal blanket means in an annular bowl like configuration whereby after the payload has been deployed in a desired geo-synchronous earth orbit the launch vehicle may be slowed for reentry to a low earth orbit for return to earth for recovery and reuse of the orbital transfer vehicle and the aerobrake.

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