Available Technology

Elastomeric launch assembly and method of launch

A launch assembly having an elastomeric tube for launching a device is disclosed. To launch the device an outboard end of the tube is movable outwardly along the length of a housing by an extending device, while the inboard end of the tube is restrained by a release mechanism and remains stationary. Thus, as the outboard end moves and the inboard end remains stationary, the elastomeric tube elongates. The tube may be elongated a predetermined amount, at which time the inboard end of the tube is released by the release mechanism. Releasing the inboard end allows it to travel toward the now stationary outboard end with a sufficient velocity to launch the device. The amount of elongation of the tube is related to the amount of possible launch energy. Thus, greater elongation of the tube provides a greater launch velocity, while shorter elongation provides a reduced launch velocity, as desired.
Inventors: 

Thomas J. Gieseke

Patent Number: 
US6672239
Patent Issue Date: 
February 6, 2004
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