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… 🙂