NASA Wireless Smart Plug: A Successful ESET Capstone Design Project
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NASA has been interested in technology development for deep space exploration, and one avenue of developing these technologies is via the eXploration Habitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge. In 2013, NASA's Deep Space Habitat (DSH) project was in need of sensors that could monitor the power consumption of various devices in the habitat with added capability to control the power to these devices for load shedding in emergency situations. Texas A&M University's Electronic Systems Engineering Technology Program (ESET) in conjunction with their Mobile Integrated Solutions Laboratory (MISL) accepted this challenge, and over the course of 2013, several undergraduate students in a Capstone design course developed five wireless DC Smart Plugs for NASA. The wireless DC Smart Plugs developed by Texas A&M in conjunction with NASA's Deep Space Habitat team is a first step in developing wireless instrumentation for future flight hardware. This paper will further discuss the X-Hab challenge and requirements set out by NASA, the detailed design and testing performed by Texas A&M, challenges faced by the team and lessons learned, and potential future work on this design. American Society for Engineering Education, 2013.