Space Applications of Low-Power Active Wireless Sensor Networks and Passive RFID Tags

  • Richard J. BartonEmail author
  • Raymond S. Wagner
  • Patrick W. Fink


The purpose of this chapter is to demonstrate the increasing importance of Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) in all aspects of NASA space exploration activities, review several areas of recent development, and examine in some detail two WSN technology areas being explored at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC). The two technology areas of emphasis are low-power active WSN protocols and architectures and passive wireless Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) inventory tracking systems. The methodologies and motivations for developing each of these WSN technologies for space application are explored in the chapter, and the current state of the art in each area as well as the anticipated future developments are reviewed. In addition, devices, systems, as well as operational concepts currently under development at JSC are described, and the results of a recent performance evaluation study of alternative low-power active WSN technologies undertaken at JSC are presented and discussed.

The specific topics covered in the chapter include:
  • Introduction to low-power active WSN technology, standards, and space applications,

  • Rapid prototyping and testing of low-power active WSN devices and systems at NASA JSC,

  • Comparative performance evaluation of ZigBee and ISA100.11a in space habitat environment analogs,

  • Introduction to passive RFID inventory tracking and sensing technologies, standards, and space applications,

  • Development of passive RFID inventory tracking systems at NASA JSC.


Medium Access Control Surface Acoustic Wave International Space Station Radio Frequency Interference Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard J. Barton
    • 1
    Email author
  • Raymond S. Wagner
    • 1
  • Patrick W. Fink
    • 1
  1. 1.NASA Johnson Space CenterHoustonUSA

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