A team of engineers from Singapore has successfully piloted the world's first ZigBee wireless sensor network (WSN) for satellite communications.
With the weight of payloads being a major constraint in satellite design, constructing a lightweight, low power-consuming, wireless communication system to do away with cabling inside the satellite has always been a challenge for system designers.
The engineering team at the Satellite Research Centre of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore launched VELOX-I, which consists of a nanosatellite weighing 3.5 kg and a piggyback picosatellite weighing 1.5 kg, from the two highest points on campus.
Designed to test the hypothesis that ZigBee, a cheap but powerful land-based wireless system, will perform equally well in space, both miniature satellites were configured with a ZigBee wireless network and equipped with small sensor nodes. These nodes perform functions such as local sensing, distributed computing and data-gathering within the satellite to support intra-satellite communications.
The satellites were found to be able to maintain inter-satellite communications with each other over remarkably long distances.
This experiment marks a breakthrough in aeronautical engineering, having been designed to evaluate the performance of WSNs in space. After conducting Received Signal Strength Indicator tests on the satellites' radio frequency modules, a maximum range of 1 km was found to be achievable for inter-satellite communication in the campus environment. An even longer communication range can be expected in free space, due to the absence of signal attenuation caused by fading and diffraction.
To estimate the range of inter-satellite communication in free space, the team applied a link budget analysis based on the Friis transmission equation, deriving an average theoretical distance of 4.186 km and a maximum of 15.552 km. Published in the special issue of Unmanned Systems, these findings present a compelling case for further studies into inter-satellite communication systems with more complex designs.
The team also found that by replacing internally wired connections with wireless links, a satellite's mass could be reduced by as much as 10%. With the twin pressures of minimising development costs and maximising risk diversification imposing major constraints on satellite design, the production of comprehensive yet lightweight systems could benefit significantly from WSNs.
Although WSNs have been used in a wide range of applications in recent years, their use in space applications has, until now, remained limited. The Singaporean team's data-driven survey has established a sound platform for future formation-flying satellite missions, and seems poised to create subsequent revolutions in space.
About World Scientific Publishing Co.
World Scientific Publishing is a leading independent publisher of books and journals for the scholarly, research and professional communities. The company publishes about 500 books annually and more than 120 journals in various fields. World Scientific collaborates with prestigious organisations like the Nobel Foundation, US National Academies Press, as well as its subsidiary, the Imperial College Press, amongst others, to bring high quality academic and professional content to researchers and academics worldwide. To find out more about World Scientific, please visit www.worldscientific.com.
Jason Lim Chongjin
Senior Marketing/Corporate Communications Executive
Tel: (65) 64665775, Ext. 247
Jason Lim Chongjin | Eurek Alert!
Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano
20.10.2017 | Brown University
New software speeds origami structure designs
12.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research