XBees Rocket into Space
XBee radios have rocketed into space! Early in the morning on July 7, NASA launched a NASA Black Brant IX suborbital sounding rocket from theirÂ Wallops Flight Facility. Onboard the rocket was an experiment running the very first wirelessÂ XBee networkÂ to leave our planet. Here’s a quick description recorded on launchÂ day:
The rocket carried the SOAREX-8 Exo-Brake flight test from NASAâ€™s Ames Research Center in California, a kind of thin-air parachute for returning cargo from the International Space Station orÂ for future landings on Mars. The XBee sensor network was used to collect temperature data, air pressure readings, and 3-axis acceleration parameters.
The NASA team retrieved these readingsÂ via an on-board gateway createdÂ withÂ anÂ Arduino Mega,Â XBeeÂ radio, and anÂ IridiumÂ module. The Arduino Mega microcontroller was used to manage communications between the local XBee wireless network and the long-range Iridium satellite uplink. All of theseÂ componentsÂ were chosen as part of a NASA initiative to use commercial off-the-shelf partsÂ wherever possible, and to employ rapid prototyping tools to efficiently explore new ideas.
The XBee network soaredÂ to an altitude of 206 miles before ending itsÂ maiden voyage inÂ Atlantic Ocean after completing its duties.Â Since all data was relayed successfully back to Earth, NASA didÂ not planÂ to recoverÂ the payload.
Here are some more stories on the flight:
- NASA Successfully Conducts Wallops Rocket Launch with Technology Experiments
- XBee and ArduinoÂ SentÂ to SpaceÂ by NASA
- XBee Takes Flight at NASA Wallops Flight Facility
- Off-the-Shelf Components Connect NASA Wireless Experiment
- NASA uses Arduino and XBee to test de-orbitting technology
- XBees Soar into Space on NASA Rocket