Image Number 4 for United States Patent #7163179.
Affordable commercial service platforms in space focusing on customer affordability, quality microgravity services, innovation and combining five emerging space technologies. The invention provides an integrated approach to microgravity services in orbit. First, the reusable launch vehicle (RLV) offers affordable transportation services, platform reboost, and eliminates platform subsystems of propulsion, RCS, liquid storage/resupply, and the like. Second, deployable structures are not heavy for the launch, but expand in orbit. Third, orbital phone networks offer customers control of unmanned experiments. Fourth, an enhanced robotic system transfers payloads. Fifth, manufactured thin film solar cells in orbit offer advantages including weight/cost reductions. The orbital service platform has a low initial cost, expands as the market demands, is repairable, offers quality unmanned microgravity, leads to production facilities using similar hardware and offers numerous affordable commercial services.