BLOG – ThingMagic RFID module being used in the NASA International Space Station (ISS)

August 15, 2018 - Blog, Embedded UHF RFID Reader Modules, RFID

The NASA International Space Station (ISS) is using the ThingMagic M6e UHF RFID embedded module for their RFID-Enabled Autonomous Logistics Management (REALM) project.  That’s right – we can confidently say that our products are literally OUT OF THIS WORLD.

REALM Project Objective: The International Space Station (ISS) is home to thousands of items both large and small, from everyday personal supplies to complex pieces of equipment crucial for scientific experiments. To prevent them from floating away in microgravity and getting lost, they are sometimes secured in containers attached to the walls, and in other instances they are stored in cargo bags that might be stacked two or three deep. The RFID-Enabled Autonomous Logistics Management (REALM) (RFID Logistics Awareness) investigation tests a radio-based inventory control system to keep track of everything inside the football-field-sized ISS.

The project is divided into three phases:

  • REALM-1: Logistics Awareness
    • Localize tagged cargo with ½-module resolution or better using fixed RFID coverage zones using the ThingMagic M6e
  • REALM-2: Logistics Reconnaissance (IN PROCESS)
    • Robotic free-flyer (Astrobee) equipped with RFID reader and antennas is used to conduct autonomous inventories and searches
  • REALM-3: Smart enclosures/drawers (IN PROCESS)
    • Smart rack drawers identify internal tagged items using the ThingMagic M6e

Stay tuned for more information regarding this exciting application.  In the meantime, check out this awesome video NASA published on YouTube:


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