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Title:
SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR INTERFACING A PAYLOAD WITH AN ONBOARD DEVICE IN A SPACECRAFT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/134686
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A system for interfacing at least one payload with at least one onboard device in a spacecraft is presented. The system includes a detachable bracket having a base and at least one slot, and configured to receive the at least one payload. Also, a design of the at least one payload is independent of a design of the spacecraft. Further, the system includes at least one adapter disposed within the at least one slot and configured to communicatively couple the at least one payload to the at least one onboard device in the spacecraft. In addition, the system includes a plurality of fasteners operatively coupled to the detachable bracket and configured to fasten the at least one payload to the base of the detachable bracket.

Inventors:
GADDE NIRMAL (IN)
Application Number:
PCT/IN2017/050050
Publication Date:
August 10, 2017
Filing Date:
February 03, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
AXIOM RES LABS PRIVATE LTD (IN)
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
AGRAWAL, Dinkar (Evoma Business Center Featherlite -,The Address, Kadubeesanahalli, Outer Ring Road, Bangalore, Bangalore 3, IN)
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Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A system (100) for interfacing at least one payload (102) with at least one onboard device (104) in a spacecraft (300), the system comprising: a detachable bracket (106), having a base (114) and at least one slot (116), and configured to receive the at least one payload (102), wherein a design of the at least one payload (102) is independent of a design of the spacecraft (300);

at least one adapter (108) disposed within the at least one slot (116) and configured to communicatively couple the at least one to the at least one onboard device (104) in the spacecraft (300); and

a plurality of fasteners (112) operatively coupled to the detachable bracket (106) and configured to fasten the at least one payload (102) to the base (114) of the detachable bracket (106).

2. The system (100) of claim 1, further comprising at least one connector (110) configured to electrically couple the at least one payload (102) to the at least one adapter (108).

3. The system (100) of claim 1, wherein the at least one adapter (108) comprises a plurality of first pins (126) compatible with a plurality of terminal pins of the at least one payload (102).

4. The system (100) of claim 3, wherein the at least one adapter (108) comprises a plurality of second pins (128) compatible with a plurality of terminal pins of the at least one onboard device (104) in the spacecraft (300).

5. The system (100) of claim 1, wherein the detachable bracket (106) comprises a space-graded plate (122) operatively coupled to a housing (308) of the spacecraft (300), wherein the space-graded plate (122) is adjustable corresponding to an area of the housing (300).

6. The system (100) of claim 1, wherein the detachable bracket (106) comprises a plurality of apertures (124) aligned with a plurality of apertures (124) of the at least one payload (102).

7. The system (100) of claim 6, wherein the fasteners (112) protrude through the apertures (124) of the detachable bracket (106) and the apertures (124) of the at least one payload (102) to fasten the at least one payload (124) to the base (114) of the detachable bracket (106).

8. The system (100) of claim 1, wherein the detachable bracket (106) comprises a plurality of lugs configured to house (308) one or more payloads (102) in addition to the at least one received payload (102).

9. The system (100) of claim 1, wherein the detachable bracket (106) comprises at least one of an aluminum composite, a titanium composite, and a carbon composite.

10. A method (200) for interfacing at least one payload (102) with at least one onboard device (104) in a spacecraft (300), the method (200) comprising: receiving, by a detachable bracket (106), the at least one payload (102), wherein a design of the at least one payload (102) is independent of a design of the spacecraft (300);

disposing at least one adapter (108) within at least one slot (116) of the detachable bracket (106) to communicatively couple the at least one payload (102) to the at least one onboard device (104) in the spacecraft (300); and

fastening, by a plurality of fasteners (112), the at least one payload (102) to the base (114) of the detachable bracket (106).

11. The method (200) of claim 10, further comprising electrically coupling, by at least one connector (110), the at least one payload (102) to the at least one adapter (108).

12. The method (200) of claim 10, wherein fastening the at least one payload (102) to the base (114) of the detachable bracket (106) comprises:

aligining a plurality of apertures (124) of the detachable bracket (106) with a plurality of apertures (126) of the at least one payload (102); and

protruding the fasteners (112) through the apertures (124) of the detachable bracket (106) and the apertures (124) of the at least one payload (102) to fasten the at least one payload (102) to the base (114) of the detachable bracket (106).

13. The method (200) of claim 10, further comprising housing (308), by a plurality of lugs of the detachable bracket (106), one or more payloads (102) in addition to the at least one received payload (102).

14. The method (200) of claim 10, wherein a configuration of the at least one payload (102) is finalized after designing the spacecraft (300).

15. A spacecraft (300) system comprising:

at least one onboard device (306); and

an interfacing sub-system (302) comprising:

a detachable bracket (106) having a base (114) and at least one slot (116), and configured to receive at least one payload (102), wherein a design of the at least one payload (102) is independent of a design of the spacecraft (300);

at least one adapter (108) disposed within the at least one slot (116) and configured to communicatively couple the at least one payload (102) to the at least one onboard device (306) in the spacecraft (300); and

a plurality of fasteners (112) operatively coupled to the detachable bracket (106) and configured to fasten the at least one payload (102) to the base (114) of the detachable bracket(106).

16. The spacecraft (300) system of claim 15, wherein the detachable bracket (106) is operatively coupled to a housing (308) of the spacecraft (300) system.

17. The spacecraft (300) system of claim 16, wherein the at least one onboard device (306) is operatively coupled to a bottom deck (312) of the housing (308).

18. The spacecraft (300) system of claim 16, wherein the at least one onboard device (306) is operatively coupled to one or more panels (310) of the housing (308).

19. The spacecraft (300) system of claim 15, wherein the interfacing subsystem (302) further comprises at least one connector (110) configured to electrically couple the at least one payload (102) to the at least one adapter (108).

20. The spacecraft system (100) of claim 15, wherein the detachable bracket (106) comprises at least one of an aluminum composite, a titanium composite, and a carbon composite.

Description:
THE PATENTS ACT, 1970 (39 of 1970) & THE PATENTS RULES, 2003

COMPLETE SPECIFICATION

(See section 10 and rule 13)

TITLE

'SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR INTERFACING A PAYLOAD WITH AN

ONBOARD DEVICE IN A SPACECRAFT"

APPLICANT NAME:

AXIOM RESEARCH LABS PRIVATE LIMITED NATIONALITY:

INDIAN ADDRESS:

SURVEY # 9, OFF BELLARY ROAD, JAKKUR MAIN RD, JAKKURU LAYOUT,

BYATARAYANAPURA, BENGALURU, KARNATAKA 560092

The following specification particularly describes the invention and the manner in which is to be performed.

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR INTERFACING A PAYLOAD WITH AN

ONBOARD DEVICE IN A SPACECRAFT

BACKGROUND

[0001] Embodiments of the present specification relate generally to a spacecraft, and more particularly to a system and method for interfacing one or more payloads with one or more onboard devices in a spacecraft.

[0002] Typically, spacecrafts are used for various applications, such as imaging, telecommunication, sensing, and transportation of one or more objects to a celestial body. Some of the spacecrafts may include a satellite, a space shuttle, and a space lander. In general, the space lander is used to transport the objects to the celestial body. These objects are referred to as payloads that aid in the applications, such as imaging, telecommunication, and sensing. In addition to transportation of the payloads, the space lander is used to enable operations of the payloads. To this end, the space lander may provide operating power, computation capability, and a communication link to the payloads for effective operation of the payloads.

[0003] Furthermore, in order to safely transport the payloads to the celestial body from earth and enable their operations on the celestial body, the payloads are mechanically coupled to the space lander prior to launch of the space lander from earth. Conventionally, various approaches have been used to mechanically couple the payloads to the space lander. In one such approach, the payloads are first configured and/or manufactured prior to designing the spacecraft core. Further, the spacecraft is designed based on the configuration of the payloads. Particularly, a foot print of each of these payloads is obtained and accordingly a support structure is designed in the spacecraft to mechanically couple the payloads to the spacecraft. However, such an approach requires finalization of the payloads prior to designing the spacecraft core, which results in high lead and delivery times. Also, this approach may not facilitate to include new payloads of different configurations/designs in the spacecraft. [0004] Thus, there is a need for an improved system and method for interfacing one or more payloads with one or more onboard devices in a spacecraft.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

[0005] In accordance with aspects of the present specification, a system for interfacing at least one payload with at least one onboard device in a spacecraft is presented. The system includes a detachable bracket having a base and at least one slot, and configured to receive the at least one payload. Also, a design of the at least one payload is independent of a design of the spacecraft. Further, the system includes at least one adapter disposed within the at least one slot and configured to communicatively couple the at least one payload to the at least one onboard device in the spacecraft. In addition, the system includes a plurality of fasteners operatively coupled to the detachable bracket and configured to fasten the at least one payload to the base of the detachable bracket.

[0006] In accordance with another embodiment of the present specification, a method for interfacing at least one payload with at least one onboard device in a spacecraft is presented. The method includes receiving, by a detachable bracket, the at least one payload, wherein a design of the at least one payload is independent of a design of the spacecraft. Also, the method includes disposing at least one adapter within at least one slot of the detachable bracket to communicatively couple the at least one payload to the at least one onboard device in the spacecraft. Further, the method includes fastening, by a plurality of fasteners, the at least one payload to the base of the detachable bracket.

[0007] In accordance with yet another embodiment of the present specification, a spacecraft system is presented. The spacecraft system includes at least one onboard device. Also, the spacecraft system includes an interfacing subsystem including a detachable bracket having a base and at least one slot, and configured to receive at least one payload, wherein a design of the at least one payload is independent of a design of the spacecraft. Further, the interfacing sub- system includes at least one adapter disposed within the at least one slot and configured to communicatively couple the at least one payload to the at least one onboard device in the spacecraft. In addition, the interfacing sub-system includes a plurality of fasteners operatively coupled to the detachable bracket and configured to fasten the at least one payload to the base of the detachable bracket.

DRAWINGS

[0008] These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present disclosure will become better understood when the following detailed description is read with reference to the accompanying drawings in which like characters represent like parts throughout the drawings, wherein:

[0009] FIG: 1 is a diagrammatical representation of a system for interfacing a payload with an onboard device in a spacecraft, in accordance with aspects of the present specification;

[0010] FIG: 2 is a flow chart illustrating a method for interfacing the payload with the onboard device in the spacecraft, in accordance with aspects of the present specification; and

[0011] FIG. 3 is an exploded view of a spacecraft having an interfacing subsystem interfacing payloads to one or more onboard devices in the spacecraft, in accordance with aspects of the present specification.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0012] As will be described in detail hereinafter, various embodiments of systems and methods for interfacing a payload with an onboard device in a spacecraft are presented. In particular, the systems and methods presented herein interface the payload that are designed and finalized after designing and/or manufacturing the spacecraft, which in turn reduces the lead and delivery times. Also, the systems and methods presented herein aid in interfacing new payloads having different configurations or designs irrespective of the design of the spacecraft. [0013] FIG. 1 is a diagrammatical representation of a system (100) for interfacing a payload (102) with an onboard device (104) in a spacecraft, in accordance with aspects of the present specification. The spacecraft (shown in FIG. 3) may be used for various applications, such as imaging, telecommunication, and sensing. Some of the spacecrafts may include a satellite, a space shuttle, and a space lander. In one embodiment, the spacecraft may be coupled to a launch vehicle that injects the spacecraft in a launch orbit where the spacecraft begins one or more operations. In one example, the launch orbit may be an operational orbit. In another example, the spacecraft may use an on-board propulsion system to make corrections to the launch orbit to get into the operational or desired orbit.

[0014] Further, the spacecraft may include one or more onboard devices (104) that are used for providing operating power, computation capability, and a communication link to the pay loads (102) for effective operation of the pay loads (102). In one example, the onboard devices (104) include an avionics box, a power source, a transceiver unit, and an integrated tank assembly. The onboard devices (104) may be operatively coupled one or more housings in the spacecraft. Further, the payloads (102) may be communicatively coupled to these onboard devices (104) to perform the operations such as the imaging, the telecommunication, and the sensing. In one example, the payloads (102) include a star sensor with gyros and actuators, an imaging payload, and a high data rate transmitter such as an X-band transmitter. The star sensor with gyros and actuators may be used for precision pointing capabilities, while the high data rate transmitter may be used for transmitting high data rate payload data.

[0015] Conventionally, the payloads are first configured and/or manufactured prior to designing the spacecraft. Further, the spacecraft is designed based on the configuration of the payloads. Particularly, a foot print of each of these payloads is obtained and accordingly a support structure is designed in the spacecraft to mechanically couple the payloads to the spacecraft. However, such an approach requires finalization of the payloads prior to designing the spacecraft core, which results in high lead and delivery times.

[0016] To overcome the above shortcomings or problems, an exemplary interfacing system (100) is used for coupling one or more payloads (102) to the spacecraft. It may be noted that by using this interfacing system (100), a design or configuration of the payload (102) may be independent of the design of the spacecraft. More specifically, the spacecraft may be manufactured prior to finalizing the configuration of the payload (102). Further, the payload (102) may be coupled to the spacecraft by using the exemplary interfacing system (100). It may be noted that the terms "interfacing system" and "system" may be used interchangeably in the below description.

[0017] In a presently contemplated configuration, the system (100) includes a detachable bracket (106), one or more adapters (108), one or more connectors (110), and fasteners (112). It may be noted that the system (100) may include other components, and is not limited to the components shown in FIG. 1. The detachable bracket (106) may be designed to house payloads (102) of different configurations and/or design. Also, the detachable bracket (106) may be easily coupled or detached from the spacecraft. Moreover, the detachable bracket (106) may be used for mechanical, thermal, and electrical interface. Usage of this bracket (106) allows the payload (102) to be plugged onto the spacecraft even in advanced stages of the integration of the spacecraft. In one example, the detachable bracket (106) may have an outer dimension of 200 x 200 mm. In one embodiment, the detachable bracket (106) may include one or more lugs to couple additional payloads on the spacecraft.

[0018] As depicted in FIG. 1, the detachable bracket (106) includes a base

(114) and one or more slots (116). The base (114) may be a space-graded plate with coupling apertures (118) on the corners that aid in attaching or coupling the base (114) to a housing (shown in FIG. 3) of the spacecraft. In one example, screws (120) may be protruded through the coupling apertures (118) and the housing to mechanically couple the detachable bracket (106) to the spacecraft. In one embodiment, the space-graded plate may be mounted on a support structure in a predefined area of the spacecraft. Moreover, this kind of coupling allows for thermal conductivity from the payload (102) to the spacecraft. In one example, the space- graded plate includes aluminum composites, titanium composites, carbon composites, or a combination thereof.

[0019] Further, the detachable bracket (106) includes a side plate (122) having the slots (116) at a predefined distance from one another. In one embodiment, the space-graded plate and the side plate (122) may be molded as a single structure. Also, the side plate (122) is provided with apertures on either side of the slots (116) to mechanically couple the adapters (108) to the detachable bracket (106). More particularly, the adapters (108) are disposed within the slots (116) on the side plate (122). Further, screws of the adapters (108) are inserted through the apertures on either side of the slots (116) to fasten the adapters (108) to the detachable bracket (106). In one example, the adapters (108) may include space-qualified DB9 adaptors.

[0020] In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the detachable bracket (106) is shown with three slots (116) on the side plate (122) and three adapters (108) are disposed within the three slots (116) on the side plate (122). It may be noted that the detachable bracket (106) may include any number of slots depending upon the number of adapters to be coupled to the detachable bracket (106).

[0021] Furthermore, the detachable bracket (106) may be configured to receive the payload (102). More specifically, the base (114) of the detachable bracket (106) may be drilled at predefined locations to form apertures (124) that may be aligned or matched with the apertures of the payload (102). Further, fasteners (112) are protruded through the apertures (124) of the base (114) and the apertures of the payload (102) to fasten the payload (102) to the base (114) of the detachable bracket (106). In one example, the fasteners (112) may include screws or similar coupling units. [0022] Upon coupling the payload (102) to the detachable bracket (106), the connectors (110) may be disposed between the payload (102) and the adapters (108) to electrically couple the payload (102) to the adapters (108). In particular, the adapter (108) may include a plurality of first pins (126) that are compatible with a plurality of terminal pins of the payload (102). Further, the connector (110) is used to electrically couple the first pins (126) of the adapter (108) to the terminal pins of the payload (102). In one example, the connector (110) may include RS485 connectors.

[0023] In addition to the first pins (126), the adapter (108) includes a plurality of second pins (128) that are electrically coupled to a plurality of terminal pins of an onboard device (104) in the spacecraft. For example, a bus (not shown) may be used to electrically couple the second pins (128) of the adapter (108) to the terminal pins of the onboard device (104). Particularly, a power bus is used to electrically couple the power source on the spacecraft to one adapter (108) on the side plate (122) of the detachable bracket (106). Furthermore, a communication bus is used to electrically couple the communication medium on the space craft to another adapter on the side plate (122). Similarly, different buses may be provided to different adapters (108) on the detachable bracket (106) for different purposes.

[0024] Furthermore, the payload (102) is operatively coupled to the plurality of adapters (108) such that upon request the plurality of adapters (108) operatively couple the payload (102) to the onboard devices (104) in the spacecraft for enabling execution of the corresponding objectives such as, power requirements, communication objectives etc.

[0025] Thus, by employing the exemplary system (100), the payload (102) may be coupled to the onboard device (104) for facilitating one or more applications. Moreover, such a configuration provides a plug and play service to a client for attaching their payload (102) to an existing spacecraft, thereby reducing the lead time for assembling the spacecraft and also the cost for manufacturing the spacecraft. Additionally, the payloads of any configuration and/or design may be physically, electrically, and thermally coupled to the spacecraft by using the exemplary system (100).

[0026] Referring to FIG. 2, a method for interfacing a payload with an onboard device in the spacecraft, in accordance with aspects of the present specification is depicted. For ease of understanding, the method (200) is described with reference to the components of FIG. 1. The method (200) begins with a step (202), where at least one payload (102) is received by a detachable bracket (106). To that end, the detachable bracket (106) includes a base (114) and a plurality of slots (116). Further, the at least one payload (102) is disposed on the base (114). Also, a design of the at least one payload (102) is independent of a design of the spacecraft. Moreover, the design or configuration of the at least one payload (102) is finalized after designing the spacecraft.

[0027] Subsequently, at step (204), the at least one adapter (108) within at least one slot (116) of the detachable bracket is disposed to communicatively couple the at least one payload (102) to the at least one onboard device (104) in the spacecraft. More particularly, the adapter (108) includes a plurality of first pins (126) and a plurality of second pins (128). The plurality of first pins (126) is compatible with a plurality of terminal pins of the at least one payload (102). Similarly, the plurality of second pins (128) is compatible with a plurality of terminal pins of the at least one onboard device (104) in the spacecraft. Further, a connector (110) is used to electrically couple the first pins (126) of the adapter with the terminal pins of the payload (102), while a bus is used to electrically couple the second pins (128) of the adapter (108) with the terminal pins of the onboard device (104) to electrically and/or communicatively couple the payload (102) with the onboard device (104) in the spacecraft.

[0028] Furthermore, at step (206), the at least one payload (102) is fastened to the base (114) of the detachable bracket (106). To that end, a plurality of fasteners (112) is used to fasten the payload (102) to the detachable bracket (106). In one example, apertures (124) on the base (114) of the detachable bracket (106) are aligned with the apertures of the payload (102) that is disposed on the detachable bracket (106). Further, fasteners (112), such as screws are protruded through the apertures (124) of the base (114) and the apertures of the payload (102) to mechanically couple the payload (102) to the detachable bracket (106). In one embodiment, the detachable bracket (106) includes a plurality of lugs that aids in housing one or more payloads in addition to the at least one received payload (102).

[0029] FIG. 3 is an exploded view of a spacecraft (300) having an interfacing sub-system (302) interfacing payloads (304) to one or more onboard devices (306) in the spacecraft (300). It may be noted that the interfacing sub-system (302) is similar to the interfacing system (100) of FIG. 1. The spacecraft (300) includes a housing (308) that is made up of six structural panels (310) including four vertical panels and two horizontal panels. In one embodiment, the one or more onboard devices (306) may be operatively coupled to a bottom deck (312) of the housing (308). In another embodiment, the one or more onboard devices (306) may be operatively coupled to the panels (310) of the housing (308).

[0030] The one or more onboard devices (306) may include an avionics box, a

PCDU, a power source such as a battery, a low data rate transceiver (S-band transceiver), a high data rate transmitter (X-band transmitter), and an integrated tank assembly. The avionics box is a package containing stacks of PCBs for the C&DH system. The avionics box may be mounted to a side panel of the housing. Similarly, the battery is used as a primary means of energy storage that is coupled to another side panel of the housing. Also, the PCDU is a package containing stacks of PCBs for the power distribution electronics. The low data rate transceiver (S-band transceiver) is used for a low data rate communication link with a ground station. The high data rate transmitter (X-band transmitter) is used for high data rate payload data downlink. As depicted in FIG. 3, these onboard devices (306) may be coupled to one or more panels (310) of the housing (308). [0031] Further, the integrated tank assembly includes an integrated mount for propellant tank, reaction wheels and the thruster. The entire assembly is mounted to the bottom deck (312), which also acts as the interface with the launch vehicle. All packages in this assembly are optional. The reaction wheels are only used if there is a need for precision pointing. The propellant tank and thruster are mounted only if there is a need for a propulsion system.

[0032] Furthermore, the interfacing sub-system (302) includes a detachable bracket (314) coupled to the panels (310) of the housing (308) as depicted in FIG. 3. This detachable bracket (314) may include a base and one or more slots, and configured to receive at one or more payloads (304), such as imaging payloads. In the exemplary spacecraft (300), the design of the payloads (304) is independent of a design of the spacecraft (300). Particularly, the spacecraft (300) may be designed and/or manufactures prior to configuring or designing the payloads (304). Further, one or more adapters may be disposed within the slot of the detachable bracket (302) and configured to communicatively couple the payloads (304) to the at least one onboard device (306) in the spacecraft (300). In one example, the imaging payload may be coupled to a battery via the adapter to supply power from the battery to the imaging payload.

[0033] The various embodiments of the exemplary systems and methods presented hereinabove aid in interfacing the payloads to the onboard devices in the spacecraft. Also, the systems and methods presented herein interface the payload that are designed and finalized after designing and/or manufacturing the spacecraft, which in turn reduces the lead and delivery times. Moreover, the systems and methods presented herein aid in interfacing new payloads having different configurations or designs irrespective of the design of the spacecraft

[0034] While only certain features of the present disclosure have been illustrated, and described herein, many modifications and changes will occur to those skilled in the art. It is, therefore, to be understood that the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications and changes as fall within the true spirit of the present disclosure.