Just when you thought the IoT (Internet of Things) was looking to take over the world there’s more. NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Admin.), www.nasa.gov, is preparing to bring the IoT to extreme heights and conduct a performance test for wireless networks in space.

Digi Intl.’s, www.digi.com, XBee ZigBee modules is helping NASA determine potential applications of wireless technologies in outer space. The modules detect progress by monitoring Exo-Brake performance data as it measures acceleration, temperature, and air pressure of a flight. Exo-Brake technology is a specially-designed device that operates similar to a parachute at extremely high speeds and low air pressures. Its technology may be a solution for retrieving cargo from the ISS (Intl. Space Station), a major step for NASA.

In order to test the Exo-Brake, NASA is sending the SOAREX (sub-orbital aerodynamic re-entry experiments) payload 250 miles above earth. Payload avionics will then send XBee data to earth through an Iridium, www.iridium.com, satellite. XBee modules work to create a wireless sensor data network for the Exo-Brake and will transfer data to the Iridium uplink.

NASA is conducting the trial to see if wireless networking can collect atmospheric readings in space. If the test works there could be numerous advantages for both NASA and the IoT industry. Vehicles and devices will have less cabling in a wireless environment and would then weigh less, resulting in lower fuel requirements and greater payload capacity. The solution would bring NASA the opportunity to increase its research.

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