Some Boom Rendezvous Videos

Kirk sent me the link to these yesterday, but I didn’t have time to blog them yet.  These should hopefully give you a better idea of what we’re talking about.  If you have time, the other videos on his youtube channel are pretty interesting as well (though I imagine some of them will be talked about in his future blog posts).

First here’s an animation of a CEV doing a boom-rendezvous docking with an LSAM/EDS stack:

Now, as I’ve been thinking about it, this isn’t exactly how I’d do it. I’d probably want the first boom attachment to actually involve booms from both ends. That way you can guarantee that it’s highly improbable for either boom to collide with the other vehicle. The damage a boom can do at full extension is a lot less than a full vehicle (it doesn’t have a lot of compressive strength or mass in it), but could still poke a hole in solar panels, sun shields, or radiators. By having booms from both vehicles, you can keep them at a hands-off distance until a firm connection is made. Once you have one connection, you have a lot better data about where the other targets are, and you have more control over the process, so the other booms could probably be single booms. They could also likely be a lot shorter. But I think the video does a very good job of showing the basic idea.

Here’s another video that shows more about how the Bi-STEM system actually works:

The video is showing a MXER tether boom, but illustrates the measuring-tape-like nature of the Bi-STEM system (with a high strength polymer tether in the middle) very well. Now if you mounted that system on a camfield joint… 🙂

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Jonathan Goff

Jonathan Goff

President/CEO at Altius Space Machines
Jonathan Goff is a space technologist, inventor, and serial space entrepreneur who created the Selenian Boondocks blog. Jon was a co-founder of Masten Space Systems, and is the founder and CEO of Altius Space Machines, a space robotics startup in Broomfield, CO. His family includes his wife, Tiffany, and five boys: Jarom (deceased), Jonathan, James, Peter, and Andrew. Jon has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering (1999) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (2007) from Brigham Young University, and served an LDS proselytizing mission in Olongapo, Philippines from 2000-2002.
Jonathan Goff

Latest posts by Jonathan Goff (see all)

Jonathan Goff

About Jonathan Goff

Jonathan Goff is a space technologist, inventor, and serial space entrepreneur who created the Selenian Boondocks blog. Jon was a co-founder of Masten Space Systems, and is the founder and CEO of Altius Space Machines, a space robotics startup in Broomfield, CO. His family includes his wife, Tiffany, and five boys: Jarom (deceased), Jonathan, James, Peter, and Andrew. Jon has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering (1999) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (2007) from Brigham Young University, and served an LDS proselytizing mission in Olongapo, Philippines from 2000-2002.
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4 Responses to Some Boom Rendezvous Videos

  1. Martijn Meijering says:

    If you have time, the other videos on his youtube channel are pretty interesting as well

    Seconded, very impressive.

  2. Pete says:

    These booms look very cool, and may be off the shelf, but I am not sure that they would be that light, nor that they could take much in the way of bending loads – their slenderness ratio seems very high. If mass is not a serious constraint, then a truss robotic arm would presumably be lighter, and perhaps more robust. If launch packing is an issue, similar roll up trusses are used for mobile towers, locking together as they unroll.

    There is another interesting boom system, perhaps a solution in search of a problem, where one can use a tensile spinning belt with belt feed constraining pulleys at each end (pulleys might eventually be magnetic). The belt material gets fired out by one pulley, hits the other and gets turned back 180 degrees and fired back. The interesting thing about such booms is that the compressive strength is independent of length. They might also be used to accelerate and decelerate payloads to higher speeds. This may be an interesting system for much further down the track – one could fire out a “harpoon” in a controlled manner.

  3. jeff m. says:

    This is a very interesting technology and technique, but one question that came to mind while I was reading and seeing the video: Does this work based on the assumption that the axis of the docking apparatus lines up with the CG of the vehicle on both mating vehicles? How well would it work if these conditions weren’t met? Anyways, just a thought.

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