RFID material management system helps China’s space station to realize digital material management
As of June 23, three Chinese astronauts, Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo, had been living in China’s space station for six days. In these six days, their work can be said to be extremely busy. From the picture released on the 18th, we can see that in the morning of the same day, three astronauts were eating breakfast while the packages were ready to be opened. We can see that a large number of tethers were floating in the space station. By the 23rd, basically all the packages in the core module had disappeared. What we can see is that the astronauts had set up the national flag and party flag, and installed the display on the top of the core module, and the extravehicular space suit had been unpacked and tested.
In fact, astronauts unpack the package these days, not as simple as we think. Because the new sky and core cabin, although it has changed from a one bedroom in the past Tiangong laboratory to a large flat floor, still has limited space. If there is no material management system for a space station, it will be a big mess.
The international space station has been running for more than 20 years since its establishment, so the total transportation and management of materials has exceeded 500000 pieces, which is a huge number. The actual international space station has a material management system, that is, a material information query system based on bar code. Astronauts use bar code reader to scan the bar code label on the cargo package one by one to obtain the cargo information, and update the material information management database through wireless or wired way to realize the on orbit material information identification of space station. These material information management databases are stored on the notebook computers and ground computers of the space station, and updated by uploading and downloading files.
But this system is flawed, the most important drawback is that it can not achieve accurate positioning of goods after registration. Therefore, each astronaut of the international space station needs to spend at least 20 minutes a day to study the material system. Their biggest problem is to find out what items are stored on the space station, where they are stored, and when they are scheduled to use them. Such trouble means that a large number of materials are missing or damaged. According to statistics, about 3% of the space station materials are missing. For example, in 2006, the four purification tanks used to purify the spacesuit could not be found in the space station.
IMPROVEMENT – RFID technology used in the china space station
The main improvement of the new material management system of China’s space station is the use of RFID technology, that is, all materials have RFID tags composed of ultra-thin microchips and antennas embedded in plastic sheets, fiber paper and other materials. Compared with the barcode system of the international space station, RFID technology can realize batch, fast and accurate automatic identification, which is fast and convenient to operate.
Especially through this new radio frequency identification technology, materials have dynamic information from the past single bar code. After scanning materials with mobile phones and other devices, astronauts can update the information of material input, extraction and location movement, so as to realize the digitization of material management and greatly reduce the workload of cleaning materials. This is also the basis for Chinese astronauts to clean up the core module in six days.
In fact, the so-called material management system is a part of China’s space station information system. Its purpose is to ensure the communication support of astronauts’ life and work and their perception of the status inside and outside the cabin, improve the management level of the space station, and reduce the unnecessary workload of astronauts, Let them make more meaningful achievements in space. It can be imagined that with the gradual development of China’s space station and the increase of foreign cooperation, China’s space station standard will become a new benchmark for human space activities.