WISENET (WISENET) - 12.13.17

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ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
The goal of the Wireless-Sensor Network (WiSe-Net) technology demonstrator is to establish the functionality of low power Radio Frequency (RF) networks within the International Space Station (ISS) environment. Low-power sensor-nodes are placed in ESA's Columbus laboratory on the ISS. These sensors form a wireless network on board ISS to monitor environmental factors such as temperature, pressure, and humidity.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Hans-Joerg Beestermöller, Claudia Philpot, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Erasmus Experiment Archive.
Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)
Hans-Joerg Beestermöller, Astrium GmbH Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Claudia Philpot, DLR German Aerospace Centre, Germany

Information Pending

German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany
European Space Agency (ESA), Noordwijk, Netherlands

Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)

Sponsoring Organization
Information Pending

Research Benefits
Scientific Discovery, Space Exploration

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2014 - September 2015; March 2016 - April 2017; September 2017 - February 2018; -

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview
The Wise-Net experiment places low-power sensor-nodes in ESA's Columbus laboratory on the International Space Station. The sensors form a wireless network to monitor environmental factors such as temperature, pressure, and humidity.

The goal of Wise-Net is to test this wireless sensor network in a space environment, and in the metallic structure of the European Columbus module. Another objective is to see if small amounts of energy could be ‘harvested’ from inside the Space Station, where light, airflows, or differences in temperature could be used to return power for experiments such as the Wise-Net system itself.

The Columbus module is, due to its metallic structure, considerable as a Faraday cage. When operating e.g. RF equipment within such a cage, reflections and interferences have to be taken into account. Even though there are already WLAN enabled units operating on the ISS, there is a need to check the impact on a WSN. This is due to the very low signal strength used by the WSN nodes. In addition to the environmental data acquired by the nodes, they measure also some parameters like number of dropped packets, forwarded packets, etc. These values allow to an estimate on the quality of the network.

Another objective is to use the environmental data for an analysis of available energy in the module. The aim is to measure e.g. temperature gradients, light sources. The objective is to evaluate the possibility of 'energy harvesting' from inside the Space Station, where light, airflows, or differences in temperature could be used to return power for experiments, such as the system itself. The very low power demand of the nodes in combination with the use of environmental energy may allow elongate the operation with batteries significantly or even operate without batteries.

As the nodes include the Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology, it might happen that one of the chips fails in the space environment, for instance due to radiation impacts. These can be detected by a malfunction of the respective sensor. This could be detected because the supply voltage and the average power consumption is measured as well. Due to the fact, that the sensors are only powered when they are in use, a radiation induced failure is considered as mitigated. A long term operation over a couple of weeks should confirm this assumption.

The acquired data is stored on ground in an archive on a daily basis. The archive data can be retrieved from the Columbus Engineering Support Centre located at Astrium in Bremen, Germany. With a proprietary evaluation tool a pre-processing can be applied, allowing an evaluation with a commercial software product like Microsoft Excel.

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Space Applications
Information Pending

Earth Applications
The current ground-based Automatic Identification Systems are only designed to monitor maritime vessels in coastal waters. This capability will be greatly expanded by the Vessel Identification System on Columbus to incorporate maritime traffic in open waters. The Vessel Identification System could potentially be beneficial to many European entities particularly in assisting them in law enforcement, fishery control campaigns, maritime border control, maritime safety and security issues including marine pollution survey, search and rescue and anti-piracy.

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Operational Requirements and Protocols
The WiSe-Net experiment is intended to be executed after MAGVECTOR has finished the science runs, because it uses the MAGVECTOR computer.

The base station as receiving part of the network is connected to the MAGVECTOR experiment controller. Power and data connections remain as they are established for MAGVECTOR. In order to enable the controller for a different application without changing anything with respect to MAGVECTOR needs, a new application including the operating system is booted from a USB memory stick, while MAGVECTOR is switched off.

The second USB port is used to plug in the receiving part of the network. When switching on MAGVECTOR the system is completely booted from the memory stick. WiSe-Net is only using the computer, and leaves all MAGVECTOR specific components unchanged. WiSe-net can even be removed very easily as it was installed. Once the components have been removed, MAGVECTOR can be operated as before.

After the installation WiSe-Net operates autonomously, not requiring any further crew interaction. The timeline has therefore no dependencies on crew availability except for installation, removal, or switch on/off activities. The starting point of the timeline is the end of the MAGVECTOR operation or, if acceptable, a timeframe in between two MAGVECTOR science runs. Considering an execution of MAGVECTOR in increment 40, the targeted timeframe for WiSe-Net is increment 41. The preferred option is the continuous operation of WiSe-Net over a period of at least 6 weeks.

For the nodes, a commercial of-the-shelf (COTS) product is used, however ruggedized in order to fulfil the safety requirements applicable. It is intended to use 3-4 nodes (to be confirmed) distributed within the Columbus module. There is no special harness necessary, because the nodes are powered using standard (space qualified) batteries, allowing their operation approximately one year.

The acquired data is collected by the WiSe-Net base station. The application software acts as a data router to packetize the data for transmission to ground using the LAN interface.

For attaching the nodes at the intended locations, it is foreseen to use small VELCRO tapes. This allows an easy installation, and relocation, in the Columbus module.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites

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image NASA Image: ISS042E083632 - View of WISENET wireless sensor located in the Columbus module.
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