SpaceForest and Thales Alenia Space are working to provide solutions for replacing communication and measurement cabling between sensors, actuators and electronic control units with wireless links in aeronautic vehicles. By removing wires and using WSN (Wireless Sensor Network) the weight reduction of aeroplanes, helicopters, satellite launchers and other will be obtained.
The developed WSN will be integrated and tested on board an actual space launcher. Before that happens, this network will monitor the operation parameters and performance characteristics of SpaceForest demonstrator rocket during its flights. Project duration 2013-2017.
The Ariane5 telemetry system consists of 600 to 800 sensors, so thousands of cables are spread all over the 40 meter rocket. About 70% of Ariane5 avionics mass are cables.
The use of WSN technology has its challenges – metal environment interferences, high level of vibrations and accelerations, temperature and pressure changes, resistant wireless links, ruggedized hardware, special antennas and supply of sensors are main of them.