NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:03-B3.08-8618 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 034387)
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Software Architectures and Integrated Control Strategies for Advanced Life Support Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE:ISS Inventory Tracking System

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Invocon, Inc.
19221 I-45 South, Suite 530
Conroe ,TX 77385 - 8746
(281) 292 - 9903

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Doug   Heermann
19221 IH 45 South; Suite 530
Conroe ,TX  77385 -8746
(281) 292 - 9903
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

The success of the International Space Station in meeting NASA?s goals for completing the maximum amount of scientific research aboard the orbiting outpost is directly related to the proportion of astronaut time spent on scientific endeavors versus the time spent maintaining all of the ISS facility resources. In order to reduce the amount of crew time involved with inventory and logistics activities, the research and development of a highly automated, robust, scalable inventory and object tracking system based on recent advances in commercially available Surface Acoustic Wave passive ID tags is proposed. Through the combination of monitoring the movement of equipment and expendables through hatches, monitoring the contents of storage racks on a periodic basis, and by providing searching capabilities for particular objects, the system would significantly reduce crew workload, improve crew efficiency, and provide ground personnel with expanded knowledge of the on-board configuration of vehicle resources. The use of passive SAW tags will ultimately provide for lower cost tags with extended reading range, lower emissions, and expanded temperature range since the tag is not rectifying transmitted energy in order to power active circuits. In addition to the network of readers, PC software will be developed for simple crew interfacing.

This system could benefit NASA long-term flight programs, such as a Moon or Mars mission, where inventory and logistics tracking is absolutely required to guarantee safety during extended missions. In addition, the use of the system in ground support facilities such as launch pads and other Obiter or ISS processing facilities could assist in asset and tool tracking and manifest verification, eliminating labor-intensive data logging activities currently employed. Ground security and safety functions could be enhanced and further automated with the proposed system, allowing the movement and location of assets and personnel to be monitored continuously with reduced human intervention.

Potential Non-NASA applications include commercial supply chain monitoring, asset tracking, and security monitoring. Military applications include equipment location tracking, personnel tracking including friend or foe identification, and security functions. In addition to simple ID tag functionality, the proposed system could utilize low-cost tags as sensor elements, where the temperature or strain of a given passive tag is monitored remotely by an interrogator, allowing for extremely small, large temperature range sensor elements.