"Operating Systems for Wireless Sensor Networks in Space"

Abdul-Halim Jallad and Tanya Vladimirova
University of Surrey



Wireless sensor networks can be invaluable in various civil and military applications for handling data collected from the environment. Spacecraft systems can benefit from application of the concept of wireless sensor networks research to space system design. In the short term such applications can include spacecraft diagnostics and self-repair and interplanetary exploration. In the long term, ultra-small satellite nodes flying in close formations maybe used to form “virtual satellite” missions that maybe viewed as an orbital wireless sensor network from a data handling point of view.

The operating system (OS) is the key to the performance of the distributed computing environment of wireless sensor networks. Several operating systems have been developed for use in terrestrial sensor network applications but none of them have been evaluated from a space perspective. The use of reconfigurable logic and system-on-chip platforms for wireless sensor networks, operating in the harsh space environment, gives rise to the need of unique approaches to operating system design.

This paper focuses on the design issues of operating systems for space wireless sensor networks. An overview of wireless sensor networks and their possible applications to space will be presented. An outline of the requirements of operating systems for space wireless sensor networks will be given. An operating system architecture for space wireless sensor networks will be proposed and compared with existing operating systems. Experimental work based on a system-on-a-chip node, which uses the soft microprocessor core LEON3, implemented in a XILINX Virtex FPGA will be presented.


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