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MEMS: From Micro Devices to Wireless Systems

Vol. 7, Special Issue, October 2009, pp.203-212





Wireless Sensor Networks for Space Applications: Network Architecture and Protocol Enhancements



University of Houston, Houston, TX, 77084, USA

Tel.: 713-743-5818

E-mail: dbenhaddou@uh.edu



Received: 28 August 2009   /Accepted: 28 September 2009   /Published: 12 October 2009


Abstract: The application of Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) in time-sensitive space applications, such as astronaut health monitoring and environment-risk monitoring, demands exclusive investigation of network design and protocols for optimized operation in geo-station environments. The continuous monitoring of physiological condition of crew members, spaceflight equipments and habitat during long space missions is of paramount importance to NASA for mitigating performance risks. Continual performance tracking and local response advisory capabilities, within space environments, are crucial to ensure overall mission success. This paper will present challenges and opportunities of wireless sensor networks in space applications, and the investigation of system and protocol design for efficient performance monitoring. We describe a flexible WSN architecture and the required system components for reliable communications. We also investigate crucial network algorithms including link quality adaptation, energy efficiency and quality-of-service that are essential for efficient performance monitoring in geo-station environments.


Keywords: Wireless sensor networks, Quality of service (QoS), Remote monitoring, space applications


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