Archive for category SIPROC
Spy satellites seemingly hold the ultimate high ground, keeping a watchful eye on their targets from the vacuum of space. But this high ground comes at a cost: there aren’t nice rocks or trees to hide behind in space so satellites are easy to spot and plan for. The United States, China, Russia, and even Iran are very skilled at spotting satellites and getting their most cherished secret projects under cover before the prying eyes of a satellite pass overhead. Techniques for tracking aircraft via radar and direct sightings have been adapted, enabling spy satellite tracking via radar, optical telescopes, and orbit tracking and prediction software.
In order to combat these tracking techniques, satellite designers have adapted stealth plane technologies to modern spy satellites in order to provide these satellites with partial cover in the barren emptiness of space.
Two weeks ago, an uprated Delta IV Heavy rocket launched the classified NROL-15 payload into orbit. Allegedly, the NROL-15 payload was an ultra-classified National Reconnaissance Office spy satellite in the vein of the KH-11, Misty, and Hubble Space Telescopes (Hubble being a spy satellite derivative pointed in the “wrong” direction). It is likely that the NROL-15 payload included modern stealth satellite technologies, some of which we know about because of issued patents!
Fellow physics guy and rocketeer extraordinaire Dr. Robert Goddard was one of the founding fathers of modern rocketry. He also saw that rockets could be used for more than just an ordinance delivery platform; rockets could be used for scientific discovery and manned spaceflight. The dawn of the 20th century was very hostile to some of these ideas, leading to misrepresentation of Goddard’s visions of space travel.
Among Goddard’s many contributions to rocketry was the invention of the liquid fueled rocket. In fact, the liquid fueled rocket was one of the first of the 214 total patents issued to him. Patent number 1,103,503, entitled “Rocket Apparatus”, describes ways of making rockets more powerful while reducing the casing mass of the rocket. The patent was issued July 14, 1914. Read the rest of this entry »
In May 1997, Dr. Stephen Canfield submitted his PhD thesis entitled “Development of the Carpal Wrist; a Symmetric, Parallel-Architecture Robotic Wrist.” A patent application was also filed on this novel joint, better known in aerospace circles as the Canfield Joint, resulting in US patent number 5,699,695, issued December 23, 1997. This awesome little joint allows complete hemispherical movement for attached devices. Constellation’s CEV might have used Canfield joint-based solar panels and RCS thrusters, had it not been cancelled. Real-world prototypes of Canfield joint-based RCS thrusters have even been built! Read the rest of this entry »
US Patent Application No. 12/815,306.
Title: Sea Landing of Space Launch Vehicles and Associated Systems and Methods.
Inventors: Jeffrey P. Bezos, Gary Lai, and Sean R. Findlay.
Assignee: Blue Origin, LLC.
Way back on July 15, 2009, Blue Origin filed a provisional utility patent application that would ultimately result in a patent application describing techniques related to recovering space launch vehicles using “landing structure[s] in a body of water.” A lot has been written about this patent application. Many people have decried this application as overbroad and point out that it will likely be narrowed significantly before any patent ultimately issues from it. I think this patent application is deeply flawed and unnecessarily makes Blue Origin look bad to the broader aerospace community. Let me tell you why.
In the coming weeks, IPinSpace, everyone’s favorite, intrepid, niche-among-niches blog about intellectual property and space will be rolling out a new recurring segment—the Space IP Roll Call, SIPROC for short (you can’t build any space cred without the ability to generate awkward acronyms!)! Each SIPROC post will focus on a specific piece of intellectual property owned by an aerospace company that is interesting to IPinSpace’s chief scribe, Andrew Rush, and/or to you, the reader! Feel free to send in suggestions regarding what trademarks, copyrighted material, patents or patent applications you think would be cool to hear about in SIPROC.
The intellectual property addressed in a SIPROC post can come from anywhere—NewSpace, OldSpace, BigSpace, LittleSpace, CommercialSpace, NASA, etc. For an idea of what the differences between all those crazy terms are, check out HobbySpace’s description! Read the rest of this entry »