By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies. You can find out more by following this link Accept & Close ›
SSTL
Space Blog

The future of the Internet in space

A Channel 4 news report on Sunday 9th October 2011 covered SSTL’s work towards the creation of an Interplanetary Internet (IPN) system that could change the way space exploration is conducted. The development of the Internet originally aimed to connect the world, now one of its founders, Vint Cerf (Google Chief Internet Evangelist) is pioneering something much bigger: a network whose reach could extend further than our solar system and potentially allow transfer of data to and from spacecraft travelling to stars 30 trillion miles, or 4 light years, away. Our terrestrial Internet requires few resends between nodes and data can be quickly resent end-to-end. This works well on Earth where everyone is significantly less than a light second apart and where a constant connection can be provided. However, the bigger the distances involved in space travel, the longer the data takes and the harder it is to guarantee a connection as it can be blocked by the sun and planets. This means that there can be delays of hours, or even days in the transfer of data. The use of delay tolerant networking rectifies this. Under this system, each node stores data until it can be forwarded to the next node allowing greater use of available contact periods, greater accuracy in the transfer of data, and shorter overall delays in data delivery. In SSTL’s current work, delay tolerant networking could be used to ensure maximum contact between Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites and Earth. In constellations of satellites, each individual acts as a node, and can communicate with each other using Inter-Satellite Links (ISLs) to send data via the quickest route. Data might be sent to a geostationary satellite that has contact with a ground station, providing more opportunities to get data downlinked. This system is faster and much more cost effective if cost is considered as data per pound or euro - it’s more science for your money. Also, the network can be fully automated, reducing operation costs. Using delay tolerant networking to send and receive data reliably, and as soon as possible, could be particularly useful for defence and disaster monitoring, by reducing the delay between the satellite acquiring data and then waiting for its orbit to bring it within contact with its groundstation so that the data can be downlinked.
UK-DMC in testing at RAL
UK-DMC (Credit RAL)
In 2003, CLEO, a Cisco router on a LEO satellite was launched onboard SSTL’s UK"“DMC-1 satellite and is still in use after eight years in orbit. Working together and using Internet technology to prototype the future Interplanetary Internet, NASA Glenn Research Center, SSTL and Cisco Systems were the first to evaluate the delay-tolerant networking bundle protocol in space. CLEO was a prototype for the concept of IPN, and was followed by the launch of Intelsat’s IRIS geostationary satellite in 2009. Despite discussions as early as 1998, IPN is only now becoming a reality. A prototype node is already on the International Space Station and an interplanetary Internet system could potentially be in operation for interplanetary exploration by 2018/2020.

 

 
 

 

 

03 November 20110 Comments1 Comment

Back to Blog

Comments
Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.
 Security code

About This Blog

SSTL's lowdown on cost effective space technology, small satellites, space science and interplanetary exploration.

Post Archive

May 2017(1)
January 2017(2)
October 2016(3)
September 2016(1)
July 2016(1)
June 2016(1)
April 2016(1)
March 2016(4)
February 2016(3)
December 2015(2)
November 2015(3)
October 2015(3)
July 2015(1)
May 2015(0)
May 2015(1)
April 2015(1)
March 2015(2)
February 2015(2)
January 2015(2)
December 2014(1)
November 2014(2)
October 2014(2)
September 2014(1)
July 2014(2)
June 2014(3)
May 2014(1)
April 2014(1)
March 2014(1)
February 2014(2)
January 2014(2)
November 2013(3)
October 2013(2)
September 2013(2)
July 2013(3)
June 2013(2)
May 2013(2)
April 2013(4)
March 2013(1)
February 2013(3)
January 2013(5)
December 2012(6)
November 2012(5)
October 2012(4)
September 2012(4)
August 2012(1)
July 2012(6)
June 2012(1)
May 2012(2)
April 2012(5)
March 2012(3)
February 2012(3)
January 2012(1)
December 2011(1)
November 2011(4)
October 2011(5)
September 2011(4)
August 2011(3)
July 2011(4)
June 2011(6)
May 2011(3)
April 2011(1)
March 2011(3)
February 2011(2)
January 2011(3)
December 2010(2)
November 2010(1)
October 2010(2)
September 2010(4)
August 2010(4)
July 2010(2)
June 2010(2)
May 2010(2)
April 2010(4)
March 2010(4)
February 2010(4)
January 2010(3)
December 2009(2)
November 2009(5)
October 2009(2)
September 2009(6)
August 2009(4)
July 2009(3)
June 2009(1)
May 2009(2)
March 2009(2)
February 2009(5)
January 2009(2)
December 2008(3)
November 2008(6)
October 2008(5)
September 2008(3)
August 2008(5)
June 2008(1)
May 2008(3)
April 2008(5)
March 2008(1)
February 2008(1)
January 2008(3)
December 2007(3)
November 2007(6)
October 2007(3)
September 2007(3)
August 2007(1)
July 2007(1)
June 2007(2)
May 2007(2)
April 2007(1)
January 2007(3)
December 2006(1)
September 2006(1)
May 2006(2)
January 2006(1)
December 2005(7)

Show/Hide All

If you like Space Blog, why not subscribe by RSS by clicking the subscribe button, or to recieve updates by email click the subscribe by email button.


*Comments Policy
SSTL reserves the right not to publish comments if they are deemed inappropriate.