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An Efficient Shuttle Airlock Chamber Using Air Displacement
Low air loss and fast transfer times.

The working out in space to construct anything there would be a need for an airlock or chamber to allow on to go into space. There would be three important factors to consider: As low an air loss as possible, as fast as possible, and the airlock or chamber and equipment need to be as light as possible. These needs must be considered in any pat of the design. By constructing the airlock in space it kind a serves as a warmup to working outside. Displacing the air out of the airlock by use of low pressure bladders that could be powered by fans rather than heavy pumps the goal.

empty wheel well the equipment added will make it into airlock chamber


With the front wheel assembly remove from the inside through the door at the top this is the end view of the walls of the box that are available to use for the airlock. Working area about 2 feet 4 inches wide, 6 feet 4 inches long and 2 feet 6 inches deep with areas at either end for equipment. along the bottom is the base of the bladder system, The equipment for the airlock chamber will be installed here while in space with the outside doors closed. The blue band along the bottom is the base of the beds bladder system, they will have the bladders tubes already installed on them. The gray area at the bottom is the doors that would lead to space, the structure ie beams that make up the doors are 3 inches thick. The parts of the door will be explained with picture next. I will be using the area at what would be the end by the head incase there is a need for repair or an emergency.

 Door on hull seal and latch around door seal and seal accross the end of latch.


The RED bar in the middle is a seal the doors and latch. This slides in place with the six red pins the support the door. The seal and pins can be seen in the previous picture. The seal around the outside of the door is a metal against metal seal. The middle drawing is seal around the outside of the door. The air pressure in the airlock chamber pushes down and out on the piece of metal in this picture. The high the air pressure inside the airlock chamber, the harder the metal is push out against the doors frame, the better the seal. The first of the drawing in the bottom row is of the end of the RED bar seal end side view. The seal that goes around the outside of the door can be seen in the back ground. The next drawing shows a BLUE & RED piece of seal that is attached to the between the door seal. This fits behind the seal for the rest of the outside of the door and slides across to the other side. There is a slight ram to the end of the BLUE & RED metal seal that is not shown in these drawings.
 idealized view of bladder tubes condition for action of tubes & pressure  actual bladder condition for action of tubes & air pressure
These are end views of the airlock chamber bed, the difference between 2 drawings is the first is idealized; the second is more as it would be seen with the bladder unevenly hanging out. I will be using the idealized drawings to show the condition of the bed, I know how much the bladders will deform. These pictures of the airlock chamber bed are with he circular tubes inflated to the maximum pulling the bladder back in the open position for a person. I will go through all the basic positions support and enclosure tubes, for the operation of the airlock chamber.

position of the valves filling the tubes within the airlock chamber  position of the filler for the bladders
 position of the bladders tubes within the airlock chamber with tubes inflated to maximum air pressure
The first picture on the upper left is of the valve inlets that go to the circular tubes within the bladders. They are oblong or longer then they are wide so that the tubes flatten as much as possible. The second picture on the top is of lines for filling the general area of the bladder. They a circular and all the ones on top are feed by one manifold and the ones on the bottom are feed by another manifold. There are pictures or diagrams of this further down the page.
 Hinge for inner door of airlock chamber. This hinge runs the length of the open area of the the door. Area beyond hinge is the pivots upper air lines. There are three pivots in the upper corner pictured in gray. The pivots are on axis with the hinges to the airlock chamber door.  The out doors cannot be inline with the hinges of the outer airlock chamber doors.


The insert pictured here to the left of the schematic of the Airlock Chamber's air handling system is the hinge that runs the length of the side of the airlock. Beyond the end of the door open area, there are three pivotable systems which provide the means for getting the air into a hinged door. From the picture on can see they must be perfectly inline.

The rest is a schematic of the Airlock Chamber's air handling system. The red, blue, and black colored lines are to the outer tubes inner tubes and bladders, each line has a valve pictured in light gray. These lines are feed by the green line which has two connections. The one is for pressure and one is for vacuum, both sides have shutoff valves. The loop itself is divided into three sections by valves. This way the loop can be used to pump air from a tube etc into a area that is already been brought to a low pressure so that pressures can be taken even lower. The design of these valves is a blade or paddle through same diameter orifice as the tubing. There are two other valves not picture on the fan. These valves are high quality pressure sealed orifice that is manually operated. This is attached to the wall using bolts into some of the lags the held front part of the front wheel assembly. This area and one like it at the other end will be cover by a panel or wall.

The insert to the right of the schematic of the Airlock Chamber's air handling system is of the six connectors with pivots that handle the air for the outer doors of the Airlock Chamber. These cannot be use the system as on the inner doors as they cannot be inline with the hinges. These have a pivot at each end and the length adjustment from an open bore rod and piston cylinder much like a air operated cylinder.

 The outer doors use this system because they cannot be inline with the hinges of the outer airlock chamber doors.


Here is the arrangement of the six cylinders. This is with the back wall on and the enclosure or boxes over the hardware on the doors. With the doors pivoting from the outside and the cylinders on the start of the side corners the bladder are guided into position. The latch of the two doors rough at the same time hold the middles pushing each other in place. Here is the best and simplest way of operating the doors with power. Balanced verses unbalanced cylinder pressures and springs. But I like no power needed to get in. Safety first.

This is a review of some of the possible places there could be leaks, the top section of the upper bladder of the airlock is within the cabin. Leakage from the joints or connection will be vent back into the cabin. The other possibility is leakage from the cabin into the air system for the airlock. This would go into the bladders then have to leak to the airlock chamber itself then leak out into space. This would take a lot of failures. The position of the joints for the bladder in the upper section is inline with the hinge, this allows the door to open and close using simple connections, lots of piece of tubing though but simple parts.

 chamber bed area open position & condiction tubes action of air pressure  chamber bed area closed position & condiction tubes action of air pressure  chamber bed area formed for human body position & condiction tubes action of air pressure
These end views of the bed area of the airlock chamber, as it would be with the bed in position for a person getting in, the bed setup for decompression with a person in the bed and set up to for decompression empty to remove all air.
The first is again with the outside enclosure and inside support tubes inflated to the maximum or where form is circular. The bladder at a much lower pressure. The bottoms outside adjustment tubes are when inflated to maximum or circular form to pull the bladders back For proper fit. During entry and when one is leaving the bed will be in this position. There is enough slack door of the bed to allow one to reach the lever on the doors to open the door.

The second picture is with the bed setup for to fit to a person so the airlock chamber bed can go through a decompression cycle. The center or support tubes on the top are inflated to the maximum and the outsides enclosure are not. The bottom tubes are at higher pressure than the bladder but not full pressure. The bottoms outside enclosure circular tubes are when inflated pull outward allowing this shifts the material from the center to the curve at the outside of the body. Then with the bladders tubes enclosing the person in the bed, displacing most of the air, decompression cycle can start.

The third picture is with the bed up level with all the tubes collapsed. When the airlock chamber will be used for a long time it should go through this decompression cycle. Any pressure at all within the airlock can then be detected at the hull door seal area. JOKE: Maybe to hand out instructions that where thought not to be needed.

The system of tanks I am using allow for the decompression to take place in stages. So that most efficient method can be used for setting them up, to include hand pumping. (Force needed and volume handled are important for both efficient or manual operation.)

helmet rest upper pressure to shoulder bib or blanket bag to displace air around feet
This picture is of the helmet rest section that fits of course around the helmet next to the upper section to show how it fits. This to keep any pressure off the helmet while the chamber is setup for decompression and also to transfer a thrust or pressure from the head or neck to the shoulders of a person. The method for handling the difference in area around the feet for decompression is the use of a bib or like blanket bag that comes up between the feet. This fills in below feet to fill that space and above the feet to fill up that space. There will be a force upward wanting the head to move toward the other wall. The pressure of the upper and lower bladders will absorb all or most of this but incase it does not the helmet rest will absorb most of the force at the shoulders. The dark line between the feet holes is a seam. This will allow for extra material around the feet to give the form height there. The shape or form is size limited by simple walls that pass through the bag. The area of the blanket to the opening it fills plus depressurizing of the blanket or bag before opening means bag will not be under high pressure when the door is opened. The bib or blanket bag is fully deflated by running the airlock chamber through a empty or no open volume decompression cycle. It should not need this decompression cycle so another person can use the chamber and the blanket. There are vacuum pumps being used but not of this size The method is to not us any different or extra large equipment for any part. A fairly large vacuum pump could be used just for this but that is a separate very heavy piece of equipment. (Remember I have just removed 500 pounds of metal for later use and will be in the ship for about 3 months.)
 airlock bed hold parts, material, tools, or equipment not a person to space
Here the airlock bed setup just to be used to move parts, material, tools, or equipment not a person from the inside to the outside. The helmet rest has been removed and the bib or blanket bag for around the feet is not being inflated. A piece of sealed pad or blanket should be used around anything with edges. To guard against puncture and against wear. If you protect possible wear the possibility of puncture will be less. What is not considered as capable of puncture but could will most likely be blanketed for protection from wear.

Side View
 cross setion view of middle of bed closed for a empty dempression cycle

This a side view of the airlock chamber bed at the middle of the bed. The bed is in the closed position with no person in it, so everything can be seen more clearly. The top shows pipe going across to the other end for the bladders and the bible or blanket for around the feet. One of the two valves on this line is the valve for the upper bladders it is visible is the light gray line between the pipe going across and the set of inlets to the bladders. The middle inlet in the bottom is pictured here to show where it sets compared to the bottom wall. This is due to the curve at the bottom of the plane. The handle for locking the inside door is on the side wall. A hand control for inflating the tubes in the bladder or stopping the process is the means of controling the system. Again the handle to the outside doors can be reached between the two bladders for the doors to the outside.

The blue gray line in the bottom half of the drawing is where the outside tube is attached to the middle tube. The lines for air to the outside doors bladders at the bottom of the picture go into the area right next to the door. This side uses a link like a air cylinder with joint on each end to allow for the doors to open. Here a leak would be a big problem, as there would be only the outside seal to contain the leak.  view from side of bed closed for a empty dempression cycle

This a side view of the airlock chamber the bed is in the closed position at the outside. The top of the picture here shows the inlets for the bladders on the left and the inlets for the tubes on the right. The bottom part still shows the lower inside inlets but the front part isnot visible. This is due to the curve at the bottom of the plane. The top inlet pictured is to the outside area of the bladder not a feeder to a tube, this line feeds the outside section. For the opening and closing of the outside doors the door bladders will be have their pressure brought down the lowest.

Removing air to the cabin at standard pressure will only allow the fans to draw the pressure down so low. But drawing the inside door's bladder and the outside doors' bladders and then pushing air from on to the other and then drawing it back down can take it further. This is not a part of normal operation of the system but for specially large items it could be done, and is setup for that.



Overhead View
 view of the top portion of the bed showing placement of air inlets manifolds used for decompression cycles

This is a picture of the upper portion of the bed showing the bladders, tubes, and air manifold. The tubes pictured here are the same size from end to end. The small curves or changes would just make the lines look bad. They are constructed of 2 pieces of material one for each side of the circular shape, adding material or changing direction slightly is no problem. So wider in the shoulder area narrower around the waist and a deep around the top of the legs. Keep in mind this would be over a range of size and height, In my work from around 6 foot and a couple inches to 5 feet and a half (space in top of helmet & thickness soles of shoes), so height may vary by 6 to 8 inches and size chest 56 inches in suit to 42 inches (suit adds 10 inches). The other parts pictured here is the manifold lines that connect to the two tubes within the bladder. Remember the outside tube will be at a different pressure then the inside tube on both sides.





 view of the top portion of the bed showing placement of air inlets manifolds used for decompression cycles

This picture shows the layout for the upper portion of the bed, pip to the manifolds to the feeder lines to the bladders. The valve to the manifold cannot be seen in this picture, but the valve to the Bibe or Blanket to take up the space around the feet can. This valve is the light gray next to the manifold. A section of pipe will be connected to that and mounted through the back wall. The inlets are between the tubes and along the outside of the bladder. This will provided the base pressure for the bladders in the doors from which the tubes will adjust the shape to the correct form.





Underside View


This is a picture of the lower portion of the bed on doors on the hull bladder lines to tubes. The line down the middle is where the two bladders meet. The long L section of tubing is connected to the inner support tubes and short to the outer enclosure tube. This is what will adjust the center fit to the person by pulling the extra material to the outside. This will provided the base pressure for the bladders in the doors from which the tubes will adjust the shape to the correct form for each person.













This picture shows the lower or door to space portion of the bed. The layout for the manifolds that feed air to the bladders for the 2 half doors. The two, one on either side of the center support tubes and the one on above the inlet for the outer enclosure tube.














It is possible to use this type of airlock chamber somewhere but with out making another major "hole in the plane this is the fastest and best way out. A second airlock chamber going back into the engine area and having to exit that way would not work well for working out in space.

Bob L. Petersen

Efficient Shuttle Airlock Chamber Using Air Displacement
Low air loss and fast transfer times.

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The Space Canopy Or Parachute: Mechanism within vertical stabilizers, assemblies motor cable system pictures

Shuttle airlock chamber with a bed using bladders to displacement of air, loss & fast transfer times lost The amount of air lost using an airlock on a small ship could make construction work outside impossible. Bob L. Petersen.

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The ideas used go back to the writings on the Atlas rocket in one of the AIAA? books on metals an construction. The atlas rocket uses thin stainless steel it cannot support it's own weight except for the pressure in the tanks. The writings covered load acrossed and off center load. My research into using air tanks or fuel or water filled tanks for structural members. Someone has since made a small "model" plane with plastic inflatable wings.