This patent for "Multi-crew modules for space flight" was awarded to astronaut Buzz Aldrin in 2004. Aldrin was the Lunar Module pilot for the first lunar landing, Apollo 11. Alrdin now works as an advocate for human space flight. Below is the abstract from the patent application:
A system for launching a space for humans into orbit comprises a launch vehicles. There are multiple separate crew modules mounted in relationship to the launch vehicle. The multiple crew modules are nested around the circumference of the launch vehicle. Alternatively or additionally, there are multiple separate crew modules located in a pod relatively directed along the length of the launch vehicle. A single rocket is for launching the multiple space crew modules. The separate crew module return from orbit to Earth separately.