Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Space Industry and Business News  




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



NASA Tests First Deep-Space Internet

Artist concept of interplanetary internet. Image credit: NASA/JPL
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (SPX) Nov 19, 2008
NASA has successfully tested the first deep space communications network modeled on the Internet.

Working as part of a NASA-wide team, engineers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., used software called Disruption-Tolerant Networking, or DTN, to transmit dozens of space images to and from a NASA science spacecraft located about more than 32 million kilometers (20 million miles) from Earth.

"This is the first step in creating a totally new space communications capability, an interplanetary Internet," said Adrian Hooke, team lead and manager of space-networking architecture, technology and standards at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

NASA and Vint Cerf, a vice president at Google, Inc., in Mountain View, Calif., partnered 10 years ago to develop this software protocol. The DTN sends information using a method that differs from the normal Internet's Transmission-Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, or TCP/IP communication suite, which Cerf co-designed.

The Interplanetary Internet must be robust enough to withstand delays, disruptions and disconnections in space. Glitches can happen when a spacecraft moves behind a planet, or when solar storms and long communication delays occur. The delay in sending or receiving data from Mars takes between three-and-a-half to 20 minutes at the speed of light.

Unlike TCP/IP on Earth, the DTN does not assume a continuous end-to-end connection. In its design, if a destination path can't be found, the data packets are not discarded. Instead, each network node keeps custody of the information as long as necessary until it can safely communicate with another node.

This store-and-forward method, similar to basketball players safely passing the ball to the player nearest the basket, means that information does not get lost when no immediate path to the destination exists. Eventually, the information is delivered to the end user.

"In space today, an operations team has to manually schedule each link and generate all the commands to specify which data to send, when to send it, and where to send it," said Leigh Torgerson, manager of the DTN Experiment Operations Center at JPL. "With standardized DTN, this can all be done automatically."

Engineers began a month-long series of DTN demonstrations in October. Data were transmitted using NASA's Deep Space Network in demonstrations occurring twice a week. Engineers use NASA's Epoxi spacecraft as a Mars data-relay orbiter. Epoxi is on a mission to encounter Comet Hartley 2 in two years.

"There are 10 nodes on this early interplanetary network," said Scott Burleigh of JPL, lead software-engineer for the demonstrations. "One is the Epoxi spacecraft itself and the other nine, which are on the ground at JPL, simulate Mars landers, orbiters and ground mission-operations centers."

This month-long experiment is the first in a series of planned demonstrations to qualify the technology for use on a variety of upcoming space missions, said Jay Wyatt, manager of the Space Networking and Mission Automation Program Office at JPL. In the next round of testing, a NASA-wide demonstration using new DTN software loaded on board the International Space Station is scheduled to begin next summer.

In the next few years, the Interplanetary Internet could enable many new types of space missions. Complex missions involving multiple landed, mobile and orbiting spacecraft will be far easier to support through the use of the Interplanetary Internet. It could also ensure reliable communications for astronauts on the surface of the moon.

The Deep Impact Networking Experiment is sponsored by the Space Communications and Navigation Office in NASA's Space Operations Mission Directorate in Washington. NASA's Science Mission Directorate and Discovery Program in Washington provided experimental access to the Epoxi spacecraft. The Epoxi mission team provided critical support throughout development and operations.

Related Links
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Satellite-based Internet technologies



Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


Wired ... but frustrated
Washington (AFP) Nov 16, 2008
Need help setting up that home computer or Internet connection? Frustrated by that new cell phone?







  • NASA Tests First Deep-Space Internet
  • Wired ... but frustrated
  • Qualcomm to link people to Internet without computers
  • Yahoo chief says Microsoft should buy his firm

  • Proton Rocket With Canadian Satellite To Be Launched December 10
  • Sea Launch Prepares For Launch Of SICRAL 1B
  • ILS Proton Successfully Launches ASTRA 1M Satellite
  • Ariane 5 Is Readied For Arianespace's Initial Mission Of 2009

  • Two China airlines to get govt aid: state media
  • China's air show saw four bln dollars in deals: report
  • China plane-makers take first steps to rival global giants
  • Aviation giants look to China amid global turbulence

  • Boeing Develops Common Software To Reduce Risk For TSAT
  • USAF Tests Battlespace Information Solution On AC-130 Gunship
  • Harris Awarded Contract For USAF Satellite Control Network Program
  • LockMart Delivers Key Hardware For US Navy's Mobile User Objective System

  • Eliminating Space Debris
  • NigComSat-1 Fails To Work Due To Technical Error
  • Military Weather Satellite Achieves Five Years On Orbit
  • Traffic Management In Outer Space

  • Berndt Feuerbacher New President Of IAU
  • Orbital Appoints Frank Culbertson And Mark Pieczynski To Management
  • Chris Smith Named Director Of Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory
  • AsiaSat Appoints New General Manager China

  • Firefly CubeSat To Study Link Between Lightning And Terrestrial Gamma Ray Flashes
  • Measuring Water From Space
  • Orbital Ships NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory Satellite To Launch Site
  • Arctic Sea Ice Decline Shakes Up Ocean Ecosystems

  • Fleet Managers Turning To Technology To Fight High Fuel And Theft Costs
  • Location Ecosystem Still Looking For Sustainable Growth And Viable Business Models
  • Garmin Announces New Marine Charts
  • Boeing To Add New Technology To USAF GPS IIF Ground Segment

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright Space.TV Corporation. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space.TV Corp on any Web page published or hosted by Space.TV Corp. Privacy Statement