NASA is deploying RFID to track and manage more than 250,000 assets spread over its space centers, research centers and other facilities throughout the U.S. By applying Gen 2 passive RFID tags to assets like vehicles, radios, lab equipment and calibration components, the agency is now able to take inventory 30 percent faster.
“Under NASA’s current conditions of reduced center staffing for many support services, we needed a faster way to conduct and track our large and mobile asset population with fewer personnel,” says Miguel A. Rodriquez, NASA’s HQ equipment program manager.
After researching several approaches, NASA began an RFID proof of concept study at its Langley Research Center in Virginia in 2012. NASA worked with DataSpan, which provided a complete, customized end-to-end solution from design, hardware procurement, custom software installation, SAP integration services and operator training.
The deployed solution is up and running at nine NASA sites, with an additional three on the horizon. The solution includes Gen 2 RFID-compliant metal mount tags from Omni-ID, Alien handheld readers, and customized software from EDP, LLC. Inventories include a wide variety of computer assets and mobile tracking systems and specialized asset types unique to the NASA mission.
“Much of the success of this project is directly due to the involvement and participation of NASA’s senior management team, as well as IT technical staff at each of the NASA facilities,” says Jim Ferguson, DataSpan’s director of data security technology.
“Our primary project goal is to ensure that NASA’s asset management personnel are completely self-sufficient in the entire RFID lifecycle from tag enrollment, handheld and middleware software inventory operation to the SAP database integration process.”
DataSpan partnered with PentaSys, LLC to provide the on-site software technical and training services for EDP both during and after each on-site installation.