NASA uses XBee and Arduino in Wireless Experiment

NASA tests Exo-brake Technology with wireless sensor network.

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On July 7, NASA launched a NASA Black Brant IX suborbital sounding rocket from their Wallops Flight Facility. Onboard the rocket was an experiment testing Exo-Brake technology. XBee and Arduino were used to collect sensor data including temperature, air pressure, and acceleration.

NASA is considering Exo-brakes as a possible solution for returning cargo from the International Space Station (ISS), orbiting platforms or as possible landing mechanisms in low-density atmospheres. This was one of many tests used to analyze its effectiveness, but the first to incorporate wireless.

An Arduino Mega processed data and connected the local XBee ZigBee network to the long-range Iridium satellite uplink. As seen in the diagram, the gateway was placed within the payload of the Exo-Brake and gathered sensor data from three XBees– 3-axis acceleration, temperature and pressure. Data was then sent back down to mission control for analysis.

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