US3466085A - Articulated multiple couch assembly - Google Patents

Articulated multiple couch assembly Download PDF

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Publication number
US3466085A
US3466085A US3466085DA US3466085A US 3466085 A US3466085 A US 3466085A US 3466085D A US3466085D A US 3466085DA US 3466085 A US3466085 A US 3466085A
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Prior art keywords
couch
frame
support section
latch
position
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Leon P Stone
David L Johansen
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National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
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National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47CCHAIRS; SOFAS; BEDS
    • A47C1/00Chairs adapted for special purposes
    • A47C1/02Reclining or easy chairs
    • A47C1/031Reclining or easy chairs having coupled concurrently adjustable supporting parts
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47CCHAIRS; SOFAS; BEDS
    • A47C1/00Chairs adapted for special purposes
    • A47C1/02Reclining or easy chairs
    • A47C1/022Reclining or easy chairs having independently-adjustable supporting parts
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47CCHAIRS; SOFAS; BEDS
    • A47C5/00Chairs of special materials
    • A47C5/04Metal chairs, e.g. tubular
    • A47C5/06Special adaptation of seat upholstery or fabric for attachment to tubular chairs

Description

pt. 9, 1969 JAMES E. wees 3.466,085

ADMINISTRATOR OF THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION ARTICULATEID MULTIPLE COUCH ASSEMBLY I Filed Jan. 5. 1968 10 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTORS can 1. Stone Dawn! 1.. Juhansen A TTUR/VE'YS P 9. 1969 JAMES E. WEBB 3,466,085

ADMINISTRATOR OF THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION ARTICULATED MULTIPLE COUCH ASSEMBLY Filed Jan. 5, 1968 10 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTORS Leon P. Stung Davn/ L. Johansen Q Q/VIE Q- p 9. 9 JAMES E. WEBB 3.466,085

ADMlNISTRATOR OF THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION ARTICULATED MULTIPLE COUCH ASSEMBLY Filed Jan. 5, 1968 10 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTORY Leon 1. J'tane Dav/J L. Jalicnsen LL-v.5

A TTOR/VEYS Sept. 9, 1969 JAMES E. wees 3. 66.

ADMINISTRATOR OF THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION v ARTICULATED MULTIPLE ooucn ASSEMBLY Filed Jan. 51 .1968 10 Sheets-Sheet 4 Sept. 9, 1969 JAMES E. WEBB 3.4669

ADMINISTRATOR OF THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION ARTICULATED MULTIPLE COUCH ASSEMBLY Filed Jan: 5, 1968 10 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTORS Leon P. J'Z'ane BY Dav/J 1.. Jolranscn. 9 Ln; s L.

A TTORNEYJ' p 9. 1969 JAMES E. WEBB 3,466,085

ADMINISTRATOR OF THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION ARTICULATED MULTIPLE COUCH ASSEMBLY Filed Jan. 5. 1968 10 Sheets-Sheet 6 INVENTORS Leon P. Stone: David L Johamrgn ATTORIVI'YS Sept. 9, 1969 JAMES E. WEBB I 3.466 I 'ADMINISTRATOR OF THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION ARTICULATED MULTIPLE COUCH ASSEMBLY l0 SheetsSheet 7 Filed Jan. 5, 1968 INVENTORJ Leon P Items Di via 1..

Jakanaen ATTORNEY-5' P 9, 9 JAMES E. WEBB 3.466,085

ADMINISTRATOR OF THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION ARTICULATED MULTIPLE COUCH ASSEMBLY Filed Jan. 5, 1968 l0 Sheets-Sheet 8 F INVENTOR:

I6; Leon P I Stone Dav/J L. Jafiansen TTOR'NEYS Sept. 9, 1969 JAMES E. WEBB 3,466, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION ARTICULATED MULTIPLE COUCH ASSEMBLY Filed Jan. 5, 1968 lo Sheets-Sheet 9 INVENTOR: Z ear: P. Stone Dav/J Z. Jalil'lueh A TTORNEYS Sept. 9, 1969 JAMES E; WEBB 3,466,

ADMINISTRATOR OF THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION ARTIGULATED MULTIPLE COUCH ASSEMBLY Filed Jan. 5, 1968 1O Sheets-Sheet 1O INVENTORS Leon F! Stone i '0 A. Joharuen ATT RNEYJ" United States Patent US. Cl. 297-68 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A multiple couch assembly particularly adapted for use by astronauts and comprising a plurality of articulated couch frames in side-by-side relationship, each individually detachably mounted on a main supporting frame structure. Each couch frame comprises a torso support section pivotally connected to a thigh support section, in turn pivotally connected to a lower leg support section. Each couch frame is provided with a rel asable latch mechanism which is operable by a person on the couch to releasably secure the thigh support section at selected angles relative to the torso support section. The thigh support section is also pivotal to positions parallel to the torso section whereby the particular couch frame is either in a compact bundle suitable for stowage, or is adapted to provide a seat. Guide track means are provided on the main frame structure for cooperation with roller means on one of the couch frames whereby the one couch is permitted a degree of movement relative to the other couches in its longitudinal direction. A fabric webbing support is provided each couch frame with indivdual sections thereof possessing a yield strength in predetermined relation to the mass of the body member of a person it is adapted to support, whereby the attitude and contour of a persons body is maintained during the application and attenuation of excessive G forces.

The invention described herein was made in the performance of work under a NASA contract and is subject to the provisions of Section 305 of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, Public Law 85-568 (72 Stat. 435 U.S.C. 2457).

This invention relates to a multiple couch assembly and more particularly to an assembly of shock absorbing foldable couches adapted for use by occupants of a space vehicle.

During thet periods of launch and reentry of a space vehicle, the human body may be subjected to excessive G forces, and at the moment of landing impact these forces may exceed the limits of human tolerance. It is particularly desirable therefore that the astronaut be supported by a couch means, or the like, which is capable of attenuating large forces as might result from excessive accelerations and decelerations. It should also be one which is adaptable to various angular configurations as to provide an optimum configuration for preventing blackout of the astronaut during critical periods of space travel. It is also particularly desirable that these supports be susceptible to manipulation as would readily place the astronauts in position to operate the spacecraft controls and other apparatus in the space vehicle. Furthermore, since the available space in a space vehicle is severely limited, the support should also be foldable into a compact bundle for stowage.

In addition, as is true of all items contained in a spacecraft, the weight which may be allocated to the support of each astronaut is severely limited. It is particularly important, therefore, that the couch be light in weight.

The present invention, which has been devised to overcome attendant disadvantages of known prior art devices "ice and to provide the features desirable in an astronaut support, comprises a plurality of couches, each of which utilizes a fabric which not only serves as a support under ordinary load conditions, but also yields under excessive loads in such a manner that all parts of the astronauts body are properly supported; that is, the effective strength of each region of the couch fabric corresponds to the load which it is intended to oppose. For example, the region of the fabric which supports the head has greater tensile strength than the region under the neck; the areas under the chest and pelvic regions have greater strength than the area under the Waist; and the regions under the feet and shoes have greater strength than under the calves of the astronaut. The beneficial result is obtained by use of twisted cords which under normal use do not yield, but are resilient; however, under excessive loads the cords yield and stretch a substantial distance while absorbing a substantial amount of energy. Few, if any, of the cords break under design conditions, but actually increase in strength.

It is also a feature of this invention that the individual astronaut couches may be manipulated after takeoff to permit one of the crew to occupy an essentially seated position instead of a supine position, and] to occupy other positions to facilitate operation of the controls. During flight the individual couches may be stored in a compact bundle and finally on reentry may be readily replaced in their initial position suitable for attenuating excessive G forces.

Other objects and many of the attendant advantages of the invention will be readily appreciated by reference t the following detailed description when considered with the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals designate like parts throughout the figures thereof and wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a perspective view showing one of the couches including the couch frame and fabric, the couch being shown as it appears when adjusted for use during take off or reentry;

FIGURE 2 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken through 2-2 of FIG. 1 showing the couch fabric structure in its normal condition and retained by lacing capable of withstanding the normal forces to which the fabric structure may be subjected;

FIGURE 3 is a similar fragmentary sectional view showing a transient condition occurring when the couch fabric structure is subjected to excessive loads beyond the strength of the lacing;

FIGURE 4 is a similar fragmentary sectional view showing the couch fabric wherein the transverse cords have been attenuated and have absorbed the energy resullting from excessive loads applied to the fabric structure;

FIGURE 5 is a greatly enlarged fragmentary side view of one of the cords of the couch fabric showing the manner in which it stretches to thereby absorb energy;

FIGURE 6 is an essentially diagrammatical plan view of the couch fabric structure indicating a typical pattern of the longitudinal and transverse cords;

FIGURE 7 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view showing the manner in which the fabric structure is fastened to the couch frame;

FIGURE 8 is a side view showing a couch as it appears during takeoff or reentry, and showing the frace structure which supports the couch and, still further, indicating fragmentarily the takeup mechanism which is connected to the astronauts harness structure for taking up slack, the harness structure being omitted;

FIGURE 9 is a perspective view showing portions of the frame structure and two of the three couches with a portion of the harness structure, headrest, and leg constraining means as provided for each couch;

FIGURE is a perspective view of the frame structure with the couches removed and shOWing fragmentary portions of the structure which support the frame in the spacecraft;

FIGURE 11 is a side view of a couch frame in the position assumed during launch or reentry of the space vehicle;

FIGURE 12 is a similar view showing the couch frame folded for storage;

FIGURE 13 is a similar view showing the couch frame in which the leg supporting portion is moved forward, a position which is employed to provide a comfortable supine work and sleep position while in space;

FIGURE 14 is a similar view in which the calf and foot supporting portions of the frame are tilted downward, and that portion initially confronting the legs between the knees and hips of the astronaut has been moved to a horizontal position to form a seat which is employed to provide access to certain controls and equipment within the space vehicle;

FIGURE is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of the multiple hinge and latch mechanism provided for each couch frame and showing its condition for the disposition of the couch frame as it appears in FIGURE 11;

FIGURE 16 is a similar enlarged fragmentary sectional view of a multiple hinge and latch mechanism showing its condition for the disposition of its associated couch frame as shown in FIGURE 12;

FIGURE 17 is a similar enlarged fragmentary sectional view of a multiple hinge and latch mechanism showing its condition for the disposition of its associated couch frame as shown in FIGURE 13;

FIGURE 18 is a similar fragmentary enlarged sectional view of a multiple hinge and latch mechanism showing its condition for the disposition of its associated couch frame as shown in FIGURE 14;

FIGURE 19 is a fragmentary sectional view taken through 1919 of FIGURE 15;

FIGURE is a fragmentary sectional view taken through 2020 of FIGURE 15;

FIGURE 21 is an enlarged fragmentary side view of the main supporting beam showing particularly the latching means for securing the couches thereto, a pair of attachment pins protruding from one couch being shown in section;

FIGURE 22 is a fragmentary sectional view taken through 2222 of FIGURE 21, showing a pair of couch attachment pins in their secured condition;

FIGURE 23 is a similar fragmentary sectional view shtwing the attachment pins in their released condition; an

FIGURE 24 is a fragmentary sectional view taken through 2424 of FIGURE 21, showing the operating handle of the couch latching means.

Referring more particularly to the drawings, the couch of this invention includes a main frame structure designated generally by A and shown best in FIGURES 9 and 10. The main frame structure includes a main supporting beam 1 having appropriate mounting means 2 a its extremities which are provided for suitably securing the couch within the space vehicle. Also secured within the space vehicle, or forming a part of the framework thereof, is a headbeam 3 which is parallel to the main beam 1. The two beams are joined by two connecting bar assemblies 4 which may be capable of disassembly or removal during flight to improve the working space.

As shown particularly in FIGURES 8 and 21 through 24, the main supporting beam 1 is hollow and rectangular in cross section. Mounted on the inside of the wall of the beam 1 facing the headbeam 3 is a set of three slide bars 5, one corresponding to each couch. Each side bar is provided with longitudinal slots 6a which receive guide bolts 6. Each slide bar is also provided with a pair of keyhole latch slots 7 which register with corresponding pairs of openings 8 in the adjacent wall of the beam 1. Each slide bar is also provided with a pin 9 having an end flange 9a. The pin 9 extends outwardly through an additional keyhole slot 10 which is formed in the inside wall of the beam. Fitted on the pin 9 is a handle 11 which is provided with a bore 11a for receiving the pin 9. Each pin is provided with an enlarged thumb engageable extremity l2 and a spiral spring 13 sleeved about the pin is interposed between this extremity and the base of the handle bore so as to urge the handle toward the keyhole slot 10. By pulling outward on the handle 11 and forcing the handle laterally, the corresponding slide bar 5 may be manipulated to secure or release the couches, as will be described hereinafter.

The headbeam 3 is provided on its upper surface with three retainer hooks 14, one for each of the couches, as indicated in FIGURES 9 and 10.

One of the connecting bar assemblies 4 is provided with a tandem pair of guide tracks 15 and 16 affixed on one side of the bar 4 and the corresponding end of the beam 1 nearest thereto is provided with a guide track 17 extending perpendicularly therefrom. These guide tracks serve to permit a manipulation of one of the couches which is not required of the other two couches.

In addition to the end supports or mounting means 2 provided for the main beam 1, the main beam is also supported by a pair of tension bars 18 connected to an overhead portion of the vehicle. Similar tension bars 19 are provided for the headbeam 3. Still further, struts 20 are secured intermediate the ends of the bar assemblies 4 and extend under the headbeam 3 for attachment to the framework of the space vehicle.

Each of the couches includes a couch frame structure B as is shown in FIGS. 1 and 9. Each frame structure B includes a torso-head frame 21 which is U-shaped in plan. The head end of the frame is provided with a downwardly depending attachment bracket 22 which engages a retainer hook 14 of the headbeam 3. The two extremities of the U-shaped frame are provided with latch pins 23 (see FIGS. 11 to 14) which continue therefrom and which are received in the openings 8 and keyhole latch slot 7 in the slide bar 5 so as to be secured to the main supporting beam 1. By manipulating the corresponding handle 11, the pins may be freed from the main supporting beam so that the couch frame may be moved outwardly therefrom and upon such movement disengage the retainer hooks 14.

Adjacent its two extremities, each U-shaped frame 21 is provided with a pair of upwardly directed mounting pads 24. The mounting pads are located just beyond but laterally of the pelvic region of the astronaut intended to occupy the couch. Secured to, or forming a part of, each mounting pad is a multiple latch and hinge mechanism C which will be described in more detail hereinafter. Adjustably secured to each mechanism C is a strut member 25 shown in FIGS. 1, 8 and 11 to 17 which, when the couch is in position for launch or reentry, occupies a vertical position, and is located on either side of the upper legs of the astronaut. The upper extremities of the strut members are essentially at knee height above the torsohead frame 21 and are joined by hinge connections 26 to a lower leg frame 27 which, as shown in FIGURES 8 and 9, extends horizontally. The lower leg frame 27 comprises parallel sides, each of which is divided into two side members 28 and 29 joined together by upper and lower separable hinged connectors 30 and 31 so that the pair of side members may be folded in either direction, one on the other. The extremities of the side members 29 remote from the hinge connections 26 are joined by a rigid cross member 32.

The lower leg frame 27 and the extremities of the torso-head frame 21 are also connected by a pair of strut rods 33 (FIGS. 11 to 14), each having a lower pivotal connection 34 with the torso-head frame 21 and an upper pivotal connection at 35 with the side member 28 of lower leg frame 27. Each strut rod is also provided with an intermediate pivot 36 which may be held rigidly straight as shown in FIGURES 8, 11 and 13, or pivoted as shown in FIGURE 14. The sleeve 37 is spring loaded by a spring (not shown) against projection 38, which is a cam surface, extending from the upper pivotal connection 36 whereby the sleeve is cammed to a position in sleeved relationship over the pivot 36.

The multiple hinge and latch mechanism C which joins the torso-head frame 21 to the vertical struts 25 permits complex folding of the frame structure. The various relative positions of the couch frame structure are illustrated in FIGURES 11, 12, 13 and 14. Corresponding positions of the multiple hinge and latch mechanism are shown in FIGURES 15, 16, 17 and 18. Each mechanism C includes a body member 39 which is secured to or forms an integral part of the corresponding mounting pad 24. The body member 39 is essentially triangular in side aspect and includes a main latch bore 40. The body member projects beyond the extremities of the main latch bore and at one side thereof to provide shoulders in which are formed upward facing latch grooves 41 and 42. The latch bore 40 receives a pair of latch bolts 43 and 44, the distal ends of which are provided with downward facing notches 45 and 46 adapted to cooperate with the grooves 41 and 42, respectively. The latch grooves 41, 42 in body 39 and notches 45, 46 in bolts 43, 44 are adapted to engage either alternately or in concert a pair of latch pins 47 and 48 carried by the corresponding vertical strut member 25.

Interposed within the bore 40 between the latch bolts 43 and 44 is a disc 49. The disc is also interposed between a pair of spiral springs 50 also within bore 40 which urge the bolts outwardly from each other.

Below the main latch bore 40 and in parallel relation thereto there is formed in the body member 39 an operating bar bore 51 which slidably receives an operating bar 52. The operating bar protrudes from the bore 51 in the direction of the head end of the couch frame and is joined by a pivotal connection 53 to a handle stem 54 terminating in a handle 55. Slidably mounted on the bar 52 is a sleeve 56 which is movable to cover the pivotal connection 53 to prevent relative pivotal movement between the operating bar 52 and the handle stem 54. The sleeve is provided near its protruding end with side flanges 57 which are engageable by a split hook 58 mounted on the handle stem. This engagement is effected when the sleeve 56 clears the connection 53 and the handle stem is pivoted, as shown in broken lines in FIGURE 16.

The main latch bore 40 and the operating bar bore 51 are joined by connecting slots 59, 6t) and 61. The two extreme slots 59 and 61 receive connecting pins 62 and 63, respectively, which connects the operating bar 52 with the latch bolts 43 and 44, respectively. The pin 63 extends through the sleeve 56 as well as the bar 52 so that the pin 63 may be moved by the sleeve 56. The bar 52 and the sleeve 56 have longitudinal slots so as to have a limited degree of free motion. The body member 39 is also provided with an auxiliary latch bore 64 disposed in angular relation to the main latch bore 40 of oblong cross section and defining an axis which intersects the axis defined by the latch groove 42. The auxiliary latch bore 64 slidably receives a bolt 66. The bore 64 intersects the mid slot 60 and receives a crosspin 67 which extends through the disc 49 which is disposed between the springs in the bore 40.

The inner end of the auxiliary latch bore 64 is reduced in diameter and intersects the main latch bore 40. The reduced portion of the bore 64 receives a pin 68 which protrudes into the main latch bore 40 and is received in a notch provided in the latch bolt 44. The latch bolt 66 is provided with a central axial bore through which the pin 68 extends. A spiral spring 69 surrounds the pin 68 urging the inner end thereof into engagement with the latch bolt 44 and urging the latch bolt 66 in a direction to cause the bolt to protrude from the bore 64 to the extent permitted by the pin 67 and the slot 60. The outer extremity 66a of the bolt 66 is provided with a notch 70 which is intended to receive the same latch pin 47 as is received by the latch bolt 43 and latch groove 41.

Operation of the multiple hinge and latch mechanism C is as follows: When the couch frame is in the position shown in FIGURE 11, the multiple hinge and latch mechanism C is in the condition shown in FIGURE 15; that is, the latch pins 47 and 48 on the strut 25 are held by the latch bolts 66 and 44, respectively. If the handle 55 is pulled outwardly as shown in FIGURE 16, the latch pin 48 is retained by the latch bolt 44; however, the latch pin 47 is disengaged from the latch bolt 66 which has been drawn inward by the outward movement of the handle 55 acting through the bar 52, cross-pin 62, bolt 43, disc 49, and pin 67. As a consequence, the couch structure may be folded as indicated in FIGURE 12.

When the multiple hinge and latch mechanism is in the position shown in FIGURE 16, the strut members 25 may be rotated counterclockwise from the position shown in FIGURES 11 or 12 to the position shown in FIGURE 13, causing the bolt 43 to engage the latch pin 47 (see FIG. 17). When the pin 47 has been secured by the bolt 43, the handle 55 may be pressed inward to free the pin 48 from the bolt 44 shown in FIGURE 18 so that the strut 25 and the lower leg frame 27 may occupy the position shown in FIGURE 14.

In order that the couch frame may be folded as shown in FIGURE 12, the handle may be pivoted from the solid line position to the broken line position shown in FIGURE 16. It also folds so that strut 25 and leg frame 27 can fold as shown in FIGURE 12. It will be noted that in order to place the couch frame in the condition shown in FIGURE 12, the struts 33 are disconnected from the lower pivotal connection 34. It will also be noted that in order for the couch frame to occupy the position shown in FIGURE 14, the sleeve 36 is disengaged from the projection 37. A spring inside the sleeve 36 urges the sleeve against the projection 37, as the struts 25 are rotated from the position shown in FIGURE 14 to that of FIGURE 13, the cam surface of the projection 37 forces the sleeve 36 over the pivot joint in the strut 33, locking the strut in a straight position.

Reference is now directed to the couch fabric and fastening means D which is shown in FIGURES 1 through 7. This construction includes a couch fabric forming a head support 71, a torso support 72, a pelvic support 73, a calf support 74, and a foot support 75. The fabric is formed of longitudinal cords 76 and cross cords 77 best shown in FIG. 6. The principal function of the longitudinal cords is to hold the cross cords in place. The longitudinal and cross cords are preferably bonded together at their points of intersection such as by cement.

The cross cords are not uniformly distributed, that is, the density of the cross cords varies with the loads that they are expected to receive during the application of excessive G forces as might occur during launch and reentry. More particularly, the mass of each unit of the body from the head to the feet is calculated and the number of strands thereunder is selected as that as nearly as possible each strand throughout the length of the couch will be subjected to the same degree of deformation whereby the attitude and contour of the astronauts body will be maintained and the body sup ported in a manner to avoid injury. Where the actual force is greater, more strands are employed. Where the actual force is less, the number of strands is reduced.

The fabric represented by the longitudinal cords 76 and cross cords 77 is covered by a cloth 78 bordered by an inner marginal web 79 which lies contiguous to an outer marginal web 80. The webs 79 and 811 are provided with eyelets 81 and are joined by lacing 82. The upper marginal web is folded upon itself and overlies the couch frame. The folded edge of the web forms a loop which receives one or more anchor bars 83. The cross cords 77 extend between the folded portions of the outer marginal web 80 and are wrapped about the anchor bars 83.

The anchor bars with the outer marginal web and cross cords wrapped thereabout are secured by retainer members 84 each having a C-shaped channel 85. The retainer members are slipped into position endwise with respect to the anchor bars 83. Each retainer member is provided with keyhole slots 86 which fit over headed anchor pins 87 extending from the couch frame. At appropriate intervals locking levers 88 are provided as shown best in FIGURES l and 7 to secure the retainer members 84 in place.

The cords 76 and 77, particularly the transverse or cross cords 77, are formed of nylon or of plastic material having similar properties. Each nylon cord as shown in FIG. comprises several strands 89, each strand in turn comprising a plurality of filaments 90. The filaments are extruded in such a manner and are wound into strands and the strands into cords in such a manner that the resulting cords have not been pretensioned, or have received only a nominal degree of pretension. The cords in this condition are relatively large as indicated by 77a at the left side of FIGURE 5.

If a cord is tensioned it will elongate as indicated by 77b in FIGURE 5, and ultimately assume throughout its length the attenuated condition as indicated by 770 at the right of FIGURE 5. The elongation does not take place uniformly, but occurs at random. As each localized or more extensive region of the cords elongates, its tensile strength increases; that is, the elongated and stretched cord as shown at the right of FIGURE 5 is stronger than the portion of the cord shown at the left of FIGURE 5. During the transition to its elongated condition in the region 77b, each cord absorbs a substantial amount of energy. By proper preselection of the number and size of cords, the cords may be designed to attenuate at any desired multiple of the load level gravity.

Operation of the couch fabric D is as follows: Under normal conditions of operation, including the increased load level force during normal launch, the forces exerted on the cloth 78 and the cords 76 and 77, as well as the lacing 82, never exceeds the initial elastic limit of the cords. This is true during reentry if all systems function properly. In case of a malfunction, assuming the astronaut to be properly supported on the couch, the lacing 82 severs when the load force exceeds some predetermined value. T hereupon the load is carried entirely by the cross cords 77. Then if the predetermined load limit is exceeded, the cords elongate and in doing so limit the effective load on the astronaut supported on the couch.

Each couch as shown in FIG. 19 is equipped with a suitable headrest 91, harness 92, and leg supports 93. The leg supports fit between the legs below the knee. The headrest, harnesses, and leg supports are conventional and are essentially similar to those which have been employed in other space vehicles and high speed aircraft. Other apparatus previously employed in spacecraft and in high speed aircraft is a means for taking up any slack which may develop in the harness due to the displacement of the astronaut. Such a conventional device as shown in FIG. 8 involves takeup reels 94 joined by connecting straps 95 joined to the harness. The takeup reels are released by control cables 96 connected to handles 97 located in easy reach of the astronaut.

It has been found feasible to permit a degree of movement of one of the couches, as indicated by broken lines in FIGURE 8, which is not required of the others. This movement is accomplished by rollers 98 which ride in the guide tracks 15, 16, and 17 after the couch has been released from the frame structure A. The tracks and rollers enable the selected couch to move beyond the head beam 3 a short distance, and is intended for the purpose of placing one of the astronauts in position for better view through several of the windows provided in the space vehicle.

It has also been found desirable to mount some of the spacecraft controllers controls 99 at the upper end of one of the struts 25 in reach of one of the astronauts.

It will therefore be seen that a unique multiple couch assembly is disclosed herein which is particularly suited for use by astronauts. The main frame structure supports a plurality of couches in side-by-side position, each of which is readily and individually attachable and detachable for purposes of stowage. Each articulated couch frame may be manipulated to place its occupant in position to operate controls and other apparatus in a space vehicle, and in addition is provided with a unique hinge and latch mechanism which facilitates manipulation of and folding of the couch frame to various configurations suitable for launch, reentry, seating, and stowage. The specially constructed couch fabric and its means of attachment to the couch frame provides comfortable support for the astronauts during takeoff and landing as well as during rest periods, but more particularly is designed to yield when subjected to excessive G forces in such a manner as to materially reduce the effect of these forces to a level which may be tolerated by the astronauts without injury.

What is claimed and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:

1. A multiple couch assembly comprising:

a frame structure means adapted to support a plurality of couches in side-by-side position;

a plurality of articulated couch frames of rigid spaced members, each said couch frame encompassing an occupant receiving space and being individually attachable and detachable from said frame structure means, each said couch frame comprising a torso support section, a thigh support section pivotally connected to said torso support section, and a lower leg support section pivotally connected to said thigh support section;

releasable latch means for releasably securing said thigh support section and said torso support section of said couch frame in a selected angular relationship whereby said thigh support section is disposable to a first position wherein said thigh support section forms an acute angle with said torso support section and to a second position wherein said thigh support section forms an obtuse angle with said torso support section, said thigh support section being pivotal to a third position in substantially parallel and superposed relationship with said torso support section, and said thigh support section being pivotal to a fourth position substantially parallel with said torso support section and extending in a longitudinal direction therefrom;

articulated strut means pivotally connected at one end to said lower leg support section and at its other end to said torso support section and being operable in rigid configuration to support said lower leg section in said third and fourth positions, said articulated strut means being detachable at its pivot connection with said lower leg support section to permit folding of said thigh support and lower leg support sections to said third position, said articulated support means being foldable to permit pivotal movement of said lower leg support section to a position depending substantially vertically from said thigh support section when said thigh support section is in said fourth position.

2. A multiple couch assembly of the character described in claim 1 further comprising:

a fabric webbing of normally nonelastic material for each said couch frame;

means for securing the peripheral margins of each said webbing to its associated couch frame, each said webbing possessing a yield strength in predetermined relationship to the mass of a part of a persons body normally resting thereon when the person is reclining on said couch, and being permanently elongatable when subjected to tension forces in excess of its yield strength.

3. A multiple couch assembly comprising:

a frame structure means adapted to support a plurality of couches in side-by-side position;

a plurality of articulated couch frames of rigid spaced members, each said couch frame encompassing an occupant receiving space and being individually attachable and detachable from said frame structure means, each said couch frame comprising a torso support section, a thigh support section, pivotally connected to said torso support section, and a lower leg support section pivotally connected to said thigh support section;

each said couch frame being provided with a releasable latch means operable by a person in reclined position on the couch frame for releasably securing its thigh support section and torso support section ina selected angular relationship whereby the thigh support section is movable to a first secured position to form an acute angle with the torso support section and to a second secured position to form an obtuse angle with the torso support section, the thigh support section also being pivotal to a third position substantially parallel and in superposed relation with the torso support section in which the couch frame is suitable for stowage, and a fourth position substantially parallel with the torso support section and extending in a longitudinal direction therefrom whereby the thigh support section is useful as a rest.

4. A multiple couch assembly of the character described in claim 3 further comprising:

a fabric webbing of normally nonelastic material for each said couch frame;

means for securing the peripheral margins of each said webbing to its associated couch frame, each said webbing possessing a yield strength in predetermined relationship to the mass of a part of a persons body normally resting thereon when the person is reclining on said couch, and being permanently elongatable when subjected to tension forces in excess of its yield strength.

5. A multiple couch assembly of the character described in claim 3 wherein the lower leg support section of each said couch frame comprises upper and lower sections which are pivotally connected, and include means for releasably connecting and securing said upper and lower sections in coplanar relationship.

6. A multiple couch assembly of the character described in claim 1 further including guide track means on said frame structure means and roller means on one of said couch frames cooperable with said guide track means whereby said one of said couch frames is movable relative to the other couches in its longitudinal direction.

7. A multiple couch assembly of the character described in claim 3 further including guide track means on said frame structure means and roller means on one of said couch frames cooperable with said guide track means whereby said one of said couch frames is movable relative to the other couches in its longitudinal direction.

8. A couch assembly comprising:

a frame structure means adapted to support a couch thereon;

an articulated couch frame of rigid spaced members,

said couch frame encompassing an occupant receiving space and being attachable and. detachable from said frame structure means, said couch frame comprising a torso support section, a thigh support section pivotally connected to said torso support section, and a lower leg support section pivotally connected to said thigh support section;

said couch frame being provided with a releasable latch means operable by a person in reclined position on the couch frame for releasably securing its thigh support section and torso support section in a selected angular relationship whereby the thigh support section is movable to a first secured position to form an acute angle with the torso support section and to a second secured position to form an obtuse angle with the torso support section, the thigh support section also being pivotal to a third position substantially parallel and in superposed relation with the torso support section in which the couch frame is suitable for stowage, and a fourth position substantially parallel with the torso support section and extending in a longitudinal direction therefrom whereby the thigh support section is useful as a seat.

9. A couch assembly of the character described in claim 8 further including guide track. means on said frame structure means, and roller means on said couch frame cooperable with said guide track means whereby said couch frame is movable in its longitudinal direction on said frame structure means.

10. A couch assembly of the character described in claim 8 further including:

a fabric webbing of normally nonelastic material for said couch frame;

means for securing the peripheral margins of said webbing to its associated couch frame, said webbing possessing a yield strength in predetermined relationship to the mass of a part of a persons body normally resting thereon when the person is reclining on said couch, and being permanently elongatable when subjected to tension forces in excess of its yield strength.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,652,966 9/1953 Griswold 5-191 X 2,722,267 11/1955 Liljengren 5-191 X 2,788,531 4/1957 Dye et a1. 5-191 3,038,175 6/1962 Faget et a1. 5-345 3,089,150 5/1963 Briggs et a1. 5-68 3,165,355 1/ 1965 Hitchcock et a1. 5-345 X 3,261,639 7/1966 Phillips 5-69 X 3,270,908 9/1966 Faget et a1. 244-1 3,281,141 10/1966 Smiley 5-69 JAMES T. McCALL, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.

US3466085A 1968-01-05 1968-01-05 Articulated multiple couch assembly Expired - Lifetime US3466085A (en)

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Cited By (8)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
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US3592505A (en) * 1969-02-04 1971-07-13 Nasa Collapsible apollo couch
US3887230A (en) * 1973-06-29 1975-06-03 Messerschmitt Boelkow Blohm Fastening means for passenger seats
US4545614A (en) * 1984-02-09 1985-10-08 General Motors Corporation Thin elastomeric seat
EP1177935A3 (en) * 2000-08-02 2003-11-05 Delta Tooling Co., Ltd. Vehicle seat
US20060186717A1 (en) * 2005-02-22 2006-08-24 The Boeing Company Articulated spacecraft seat and stretcher
US20060237586A1 (en) * 2005-04-21 2006-10-26 The Boeing Company Adjustable attenuation system for a space re-entry vehicle seat
US20070132303A1 (en) * 2005-12-10 2007-06-14 Recaro Aircraft Seating Gmbh & Co. Kg Seat support apparatus
US20110193383A1 (en) * 2006-08-28 2011-08-11 Gayo Labs Ltd. Adjustable chair for accommodating multiple body positions and methods of use thereof

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US2652966A (en) * 1950-06-01 1953-09-22 Laurence V Griswold Trampolin
US2722267A (en) * 1952-12-23 1955-11-01 Curtis P Liljengren Seat spring construction
US2788531A (en) * 1953-12-30 1957-04-16 Cornell Aeronautical Labor Inc Self-equalizing, self-aligning body support
US3038175A (en) * 1959-09-18 1962-06-12 Maxime A Faget Survival couch
US3089150A (en) * 1959-10-21 1963-05-14 Briggs Adjustable bed and control apparatus
US3165355A (en) * 1963-07-30 1965-01-12 Jr Lloyd Hitchcock Universal-fit acceleration protective device
US3261639A (en) * 1963-12-26 1966-07-19 Robert E Phillips Lounge device
US3270908A (en) * 1959-10-16 1966-09-06 Maxime A Faget Space capsule
US3281141A (en) * 1963-01-15 1966-10-25 American Sterilizer Co Surgical table

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US2652966A (en) * 1950-06-01 1953-09-22 Laurence V Griswold Trampolin
US2722267A (en) * 1952-12-23 1955-11-01 Curtis P Liljengren Seat spring construction
US2788531A (en) * 1953-12-30 1957-04-16 Cornell Aeronautical Labor Inc Self-equalizing, self-aligning body support
US3038175A (en) * 1959-09-18 1962-06-12 Maxime A Faget Survival couch
US3270908A (en) * 1959-10-16 1966-09-06 Maxime A Faget Space capsule
US3089150A (en) * 1959-10-21 1963-05-14 Briggs Adjustable bed and control apparatus
US3281141A (en) * 1963-01-15 1966-10-25 American Sterilizer Co Surgical table
US3165355A (en) * 1963-07-30 1965-01-12 Jr Lloyd Hitchcock Universal-fit acceleration protective device
US3261639A (en) * 1963-12-26 1966-07-19 Robert E Phillips Lounge device

Cited By (9)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3592505A (en) * 1969-02-04 1971-07-13 Nasa Collapsible apollo couch
US3887230A (en) * 1973-06-29 1975-06-03 Messerschmitt Boelkow Blohm Fastening means for passenger seats
US4545614A (en) * 1984-02-09 1985-10-08 General Motors Corporation Thin elastomeric seat
EP1177935A3 (en) * 2000-08-02 2003-11-05 Delta Tooling Co., Ltd. Vehicle seat
US20060186717A1 (en) * 2005-02-22 2006-08-24 The Boeing Company Articulated spacecraft seat and stretcher
US20060237586A1 (en) * 2005-04-21 2006-10-26 The Boeing Company Adjustable attenuation system for a space re-entry vehicle seat
US20070132303A1 (en) * 2005-12-10 2007-06-14 Recaro Aircraft Seating Gmbh & Co. Kg Seat support apparatus
US7562937B2 (en) * 2005-12-10 2009-07-21 Recaro Aircraft Seating Gmbh & Co. Kg Seat support apparatus with torque support
US20110193383A1 (en) * 2006-08-28 2011-08-11 Gayo Labs Ltd. Adjustable chair for accommodating multiple body positions and methods of use thereof

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