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Fly- By- Wireless. Final Report & Proposed Project CANEUS 2009 Workshops NASA Ames Research Center 06 March 2009. David Russel Flight Research Laboratory National Research Council Canada. Vision.

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Fly by wireless

Fly- By- Wireless

Final Report & Proposed Project

CANEUS 2009 Workshops

NASA Ames Research Center

06 March 2009

David Russel

Flight Research Laboratory

National Research Council



  • To minimize cables and connectors and increase functionality across the aerospace industry by providing reliable, lower cost, modular, and higher performance alternatives to wired data connectivity to benefit the entire vehicle/program life-cycle.

Identified end user needs
Identified End-User Needs

  • Energy savings

  • Needs to be small

  • Reduce costs associated with wired systems

    • ESA Assessment – save 3 weeks AIT for 10+ people if used wireless. - temp, pressure, monitors.

  • Environmental and internal monitoring applications

  • Passive wireless thermal, acceleration, and acoustic emission sensors for structural health monitoring and testing

Identified end user needs cont
Identified End-User Needs, Cont.

  • Replace wired sensors on launch systems

  • TPS – embedded in heat shield to id temp strain so that TPS margins can be reduced

  • Radiation tolerant

  • Operate in RF environment compatible with satellites and aerospace vehicles (metallic cavity)

  • Electromagnetic Compatibility– case by case

Potential project applications
Potential Project Applications

  • Wireless communication and control

    • Thermal vacuum testing

    • Clean-room applications

    • In cabin wireless video streaming

    • SWARM Nanobots / Satellite Clusters

    • Wireless internet

    • Lunar communications between multiple nodes

  • Delamination of structural elements

Consortium project outcomes
Consortium Project Outcomes

  • 2 Projects Identified

  • Selected:

    • Wireless passive acoustic emission sensors for structural and spacecraft health monitoring

  • Additional:

    • Self powered wireless method to detect and categorize surface and structural damage in real time caused by high momentum structural impacts

Fly by wireless 1348229
Proposed ProjectWireless passive acoustic emission sensors for structural and spacecraft health monitoring.

Relevant needs addressed
Relevant Needs Addressed

  • Passive wireless thermal, acceleration, and acoustic emission sensors for structural health monitoring and testing

    • Distributed sensor networks

      • Need large quantity of sensors for testing and monitor large structures

    • Temperature, pressure, acceleration, and strain – low data rate (near term)

    • Acoustic emission – 1Msps – (longer term)

Consortium members involved
Consortium Members Involved

  • St. Cloud State University / University of Minnesota

  • National Center for Microelectronics (CNM)- Spain

  • Applied Sensor R&D Corporation

  • University of Maine

  • NASA

  • ESA

  • Boeing

  • National Research Council - Canada

  • Centre for Large Space Structures & Systems – CLS3, Canada

Why this project
Why this project?

  • Clearly expressed near term need

  • Longer term additional applications

    • If able to address this application, technology can be readily applied to a number of other applications: temperature, pressure, etc.

  • Clear synergy between consortium technologies

  • High risk – unique combination of technologies

Technologies involved
Technologies Involved

#1 - Passive SAW wireless interface devices

Applied Sensor R&D Corp

  • SAW devices are passive (batteryless) devices that can be used to provide a wireless communication interface to external impedance varying sensors.

  • The SAW devices are Rad-hard to over 10 MRad of ionizing radiation, operate from cryogenic temperatures to over 1,000°C, and remain functional through repeated thermal shock cycles between temperatures that differ by more than 250°C.

  • These devices, which are based on the low cost device technology widely used in cell phones, will enable cost-effective passive distributed collection of data from a range of existing flight qualified sensors and emerging sensors.

  • Each SAW device receives a spread spectrum RF signal, which activates the device, modulates the signal with a unique RFID-like code, and sends back a signal containing the sensor ID information along with the measurement from the attached sensor.

Technologies involved1
Technologies Involved:

#2 Carbon nano tube piezo sensor for acoustic detection up to the ultrasonic range

St. Cloud State University / University of Minnesota

  • The technology utilizes a carbon nanotube (CNT) / piezo hybrid sensor that results in thin sheets of acoustic detectors.

  • The sensor has a high bandwidth and can be utilized as an acoustic sensor up to ultrasound range. In its current stage the sensors are not wireless and they will be an excellent candidate to be integrated with SAW technology to create a passive sheet sensor.

  • Our group also specializes in modeling, signal processing and control of these devices.

Wireless sensing system

Current Technology

Data Acquisition System

AE Wired Sensor

Data Acquisition System

AE Wireless Sensors

with SAW tags

Wireless Sensing System

Current wired system

Planned wireless system

Single SAW sensor-tag

Enabling technologies needed
Enabling Technologies Needed

  • Antenna

    • Wideband, small, and low-loss

  • System level integration

    • Data Acquisition (DAQ)

    • Instrumentation

    • Stand-alone interface

  • Software – processing and analysis

    • Commercially available

    • Customized

    • Combination

Relevant stakeholders
Relevant Stakeholders

  • Potential Customers

    • NASA – represented in consortium

    • ESA – represented in consortium

    • Boeing – represented in consortium

    • EADS – consortium network

  • Potential Integrators

    • INVOCON – consortium network

    • An integrator in the EU may be needed to help mitigate risk and encourage ESA adoption

  • Processing and Analysis - TBD


  • Technical

    • EMC

  • Regulatory

    • FCC & ITU compliance application dependant

    • Industry specific regulations and standards

    • Export control - ITAR

  • Funding

  • IP

    • division on ownership

Critical success factors
Critical Success Factors

  • Meets customer needs

    • NASA expressed

    • ESA expressed

    • Boeing expressed

  • Large number of potential applications

  • Partially - identified supplier/distribution channel

    • Integrator needed (US and in EU)

    • Analysis and processing

  • Potential for Funding/Investment

    • Government - potential via NRAs, space act agreements, and SADI (Canada)

    • Industrial - R&D funds

    • ASR&D – Existing SBIR Phase I – enables Phase III with no competition required for US federal contracting

  • Proposed project inline with consortium objectives and goals

Next steps
Next Steps

  • Identify source of funding

  • Involve system integrators

    • Processing and Analysis - TBD

  • Define Prelim Requirements / Spec

  • Define Detailed Design Spec

  • Scheduling, time and cost estimates

    • Project alignment with relevant roadmaps

Near term actionable items
Near Term Actionable Items


    • Funding identification and access

      • US and Non-US

    • Enabling technology identification

    • Resources for project planning

    • Facilitate international collaboration

  • Consortium

    • It depends on CANEUS

    • Prelim feasibility - limited time and resources

    • Finalize at the next FBW workshop to be held in June 2009 at Montreal