Magness¹, +31 71 565 5481 Rodger.Magness@esa.int
Patrick Plancke, +31 71 565 3693 Patrick.Plancke@esa.int
Inma Hernandez, +31 71 565 3512 Inmaculada.Hernandez.Velasco@esa.int
Chris Plummer, email@example.com
ESA-ESTEC, Keplerlaan 1, 2200AZ Noordwijk, The Netherlands
Keywords: Wireless Data Handling, Wireless Sensor Network, Harness Reduction, Onboard Data Handling, Smart Sensors, Optical Wireless, RF Wireless, In-situ Instruments, Microprobes, Planetary Science Instruments, Robotics Communications, Mobility, ESTEC Wireless Working Group
The advantages of many commercial data communications technologies applied to aerospace are becoming increasingly evident. Thus, ESA is increasingly looking to COTS technologies, commercial and/or international standards, such as IEEE, as a basis for long-term data handling solutions. Input from the space and commercial wireless industries, and academia to the ESTEC sponsored “Wireless Data Communications Onboard Spacecraft Workshop” of April 2003, plus investigations of ESA TOS-EDD and the Wireless Onboard S/C WG activities and sub-group activities over the last year provide the basis for this paper.
II Working Group Background
The full Wireless OB S/C Working Group was established immediately following the 1st Wireless Data Communications Onboard Spacecraft -- Applications and Technologies Workshop, held at ESTEC in April 2003. Current membership consists of 36 members and 45 observers. The Working Group meets three times per year, with additional sub-group meetings held as needed.
III Conclusions from the 2003 Workshop
Optical WirelessThe increased maturity of opto-electronic components allows optical links to be an alternative to the classical harnessing for intra-satellite data links and TC/TM communications. This technology offers the advantages of high bandwidth, low installation cost, and flexibility in S/C design and construction . A General Study Contract of ESA illustrated the principle of optical wireless communications between equipment inside the spacecraft: a demonstrator of a fully operational optical network on a spacecraft mock-up was built, with data rates fulfilling the requirements for some satellite applications.
ESA has defined a roadmap presented at the First Wireless Onboard Spacecraft Working Group Meeting, 9-10 December 2003. Future immediate plans are to pursue both IEEE 802.15.4 for a wireless S/C sensor network and Bluetooth in a more traditional S/C TM-TC data handling application developed to at least a Flight Model (FM) level. ESA shall be actively pursuing having these technologies ready for a flight opportunity as soon as early 2007. Future long-term plans may include IEEE 802.11/a/b/g for space adaptation, as the IEEE 802 family coupled with the IP suite facilitates a relatively seamless architecture over multiple PHY layers, a common management heritage and potentially very good end-to-end transparency.
An ESTEC TOS-E Technology Dossier entitled “Wireless Onboard Spacecraft and in Space Exploration” is currently being prepared. The largest portion of this Dossier will focus on COTS wireless technologies, software and the application of several commercial standards, including IEEE wireless standards, the IP suite and serve as a cornerstone document for ESA in European Space’s first generation of modern, robust COTS wireless-based space solutions.
IV Current WG Activities
Several specific WG tasks and task groups were identified during the December 2003 WG meeting.
WG Task T-0 Application Case Scenarios, including:
Domains: Automotive, Medical, Industrial, Aerospace, and others
COTS Standards: Irda, IEEE 802.15.4, IEEE 802.11a/b/g…, Bluetooth, Ultra-wideband, and others
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