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Methods and apparatus for fast action impulse thruster

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Title: Methods and apparatus for fast action impulse thruster.
Abstract: Methods and apparatus for a fast action impulse thruster according to various aspects of the present invention may comprise a projectile comprising an impulse thruster system. The impulse thruster system may comprise a guidance system and a fast action impulse thruster system. The guidance system may control the trajectory of the projectile, for example by activating the fast action impulse thruster system to adjust the projectile's trajectory. The fast action impulse thruster system may be configured such that it may provide an impulse force to guide the projectile with a reaction time that is not affected by the rotational velocity of the projectile. The impulse force may be achieved by ejecting at least one mass from the projectile at high velocity such that a resulting momentum exchange may alter the trajectory of the projectile. The fast action impulse thruster system may also be configured in such a way so as to provide a significant improvement to the overall safety during the production, assembly, and handling of the projectile. ...


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Inventor: RICHARD DRYER
USPTO Applicaton #: #20110309186 - Class: 244 322 (USPTO) - 12/22/11 - Class 244 
Aeronautics And Astronautics > Missile Stabilization Or Trajectory Control >Automatic Guidance >Attitude Control Mechanisms >Fluid Reaction Type

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20110309186, Methods and apparatus for fast action impulse thruster.

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CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/049,532, filed May 1, 2008, and incorporates the disclosure in its entirety by reference.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

In the realm of enemy combat, ballistics are continually developed in an attempt to acquire a combative edge. For example, long range projectiles, such as missiles, mortars, and the like were developed to more beneficially engage the enemy at long ranges to limit close range, hand to hand or close fire combat. However, the effectiveness of such long range projectiles may be limited by a variety of constraints. Two such common constraints are limited firing range and/or inaccurate targeting. For instance, an artillery-fired projectile may comprise a limited range due to a maximum muzzle velocity for a given combination of the projectile, a barrel to direct the launch of the projectile, and propellant to “drive” the projectile. Frequently, targets beyond the limited range cannot be effectively reached. Additionally, the artillery-fired projectile may comprise of a fixed trajectory upon firing. As a consequence, if the fixed trajectory is not accurately aligned to the intended target, upon firing the projectile, the projectile may miss its intended target. Other factors can also reduce the accuracy of the projectile, such as, atmospheric conditions, variations in the aerodynamic properties of a given projectile, and/or the like.

Limited range and accuracy may have a number of negative effects in combat situations. For example, to compensate for inaccurately launched projectiles, launches of multiple projectiles may be needed to ultimately strike the intended target. Thus, the time to launch multiple projectiles may extend the engagement of the enemy, which in turn increases the cost of enemy engagement operations and jeopardize the lives of combatants who must experience such extended engagement times to service the enemy targets.

A number of systems have been developed to overcome these constraints. For instance, to overcome limited range, integrated rocket systems such as an M549A1 rocket assisted projectile have been developed with additional propulsion. While integrated rockets comprising additional propulsion may increase range, these types of rocket systems do not necessarily improve accuracy.

To improve accuracy, some projectiles may comprise guidance systems comprising control surfaces that are configured to direct the projectile during flight. For example, these guidance systems may comprise deployable fins that modify the aerodynamic properties of the projectile to affect its trajectory. While guidance systems may serve to direct the flight of the projectile, such guidance systems may also add substantial complexity and weight to the projectile, and the inherent drag of the aerodynamic controls may further reduce the range of the projectile. Moreover, conventional flight control surfaces may be less effective on projectiles comprising large rotational velocities because the control surfaces cannot react quick enough to overcome the rotation of the projectile.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

Methods and apparatus for a fast action impulse thruster according to various aspects of the present invention may comprise a projectile comprising an impulse thruster system. The impulse thruster system may comprise a guidance system and a fast action impulse thruster system. The guidance system may control the trajectory of the projectile, for example by activating the fast action impulse thruster system to adjust the projectile\'s trajectory. The fast action impulse thruster system may be configured such that it may provide an impulse force to guide the projectile with a reaction time that is not affected by the rotational velocity of the projectile. The impulse force may be achieved by ejecting at least one mass from the projectile at high velocity such that a resulting momentum exchange may alter the trajectory of the projectile. The fast action impulse thruster system may also be configured in such a way so as to provide a significant improvement to the overall safety during the production, assembly, and handling of the projectile.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A more complete understanding of the present invention may be derived by referring to the detailed description and claims when considered in connection with the following illustrative figures. In the following figures, like reference numbers refer to similar elements and steps throughout the figures.

FIG. 1 representatively illustrates a projectile system comprising a projectile, a fast action impulse thruster system, and a guidance system, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 representatively illustrates the location and spacing of fast action impulse thrusters in accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3A representatively illustrates an energetics assembly in accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3B representatively illustrates an electronics assembly in accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3A representatively illustrates the fast action impulse thruster assembly in accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

Elements and steps in the figures are illustrated for simplicity and clarity and have not necessarily been rendered according to any particular sequence. For example, steps that may be performed concurrently or in different order are illustrated in the figures to help to improve understanding of embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

The present invention may be described in terms of functional block components and various processing steps. Such functional blocks and steps may be realized by any number of technologies, manufacturing techniques, and/or operational sequences configured to perform the specified functions and achieve the various results. For example, the present invention may employ various materials, software programs, communications systems, and data storage systems, for example, satellite positioning systems, inertial guidance systems, and/or the like, which may carry out a variety of functions. In addition, the present invention may be practiced in conjunction with any number of applications including guided projectile systems, guided missile systems, ordnance transportation devices, etc., and the system described is merely one exemplary application for the invention.

Various representative implementations of the present invention may be applied to any system for projectile propulsion, projectile navigation, projectile guidance, and the like. Certain representative implementations may comprise, for example, an impulse thruster system configured to couple to a projectile and direct the projectile to an intended target according to a guidance kit. Methods and apparatus for fast action impulse thruster may operate in conjunction with a launch system, such as an artillery barrel, and/or an auxiliary control system.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20110309186 A1
Publish Date
12/22/2011
Document #
12389478
File Date
02/20/2009
USPTO Class
244/322
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
42B15/01
Drawings
3



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