SpaceTech - Activities

WAIST - Wireless for Satellite AIT Applications

Control Data System SRL

This application of wireless technologies consists in replacing the conventional wiring of sensors used during the AIT phase with wireless RF links. Two types of sensors are typically being used during environmental tests: thermocouples and accelerometers. For each satellite undergoing environmental tests, between 1,500 and 2,000 sensors are installed prior to test, currently by running wires. This is time consuming and at the same time presents the risk of damaging internal components of the satellite due to the intensive manual labor required to run the wires at the beginning of the test and also to remove those wires once the test has completed. It is therefore of substantial benefit to eliminate or reduce the sensor wiring by replacing the wires with wireless connections from the sensors to the test system.

The wireless Data Acquisition System is composed of up to 200 Wireless T/C Nodes which are installed on the spacecraft, each of them being capable to host up to 10 thermocouples. The Wireless T/C Nodes are interconnected in a Wireless Sensor Network that is managed by a Wireless Gateway. The Wireless Gateway is a standard ISA100 Wireless product which can be procured from several manufacturers, including CDS, as COTS component. The Wireless gateway is installed outside of the Thermal Vacuum chamber and therefore does not need to meet the environmental requirements for thermal vacuum. The wireless links between the Wireless T/C Nodes and the Wireless Gateway are replacing the wired connections which would otherwise have to come out of the TVAC chamber. The Wireless Gateway is connected directly to the data acquisition system and to a PC Application used for monitoring by operators.