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ToSeek
2005-Aug-22, 04:58 PM
The Interplanetary Internet (http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/WEBONLY/publicfeature/aug05/0805inte.html)


The era of networked space communications is slowly dawning across NASA. Up until now, sending commands to a lonely ship was simply a matter of shooting off a radio signal when its antenna came within range. A simple matter, that is, after telecommunications software written precisely for that one specific mission had been painstakingly fashioned. Afterward, that software was usually discarded. For the next mission, unique software was crafted all over again.

Here's an idea: why doesn't NASA put a network in the sky, with each orbiter, rover, space-borne telescope, and any other skyward-launched device working as a node? Why not internetwork space? In fact, why not use the existing Internet?

Keith Hogie, one of the researchers mentioned in the article, is in my department.

Robert Andersson
2005-Aug-22, 09:41 PM
I find that a really good idea. Each mission should probably have its conventional communications for real-time telemetry and commands, but such a network could be used for secondary data, and when the primary link fail or is unavailable.

It would probably not be that hard either. Just design "spacenet" equivalent to ethernet, and equip all spacecraft with it, acting like routers, with no single point of failure.

However, I would be reluctant connecting it to the Internet...

iron4
2005-Aug-23, 08:27 PM
i'm looking forward for the day that Bad Astronomy Bulletin Board will find its place in the Interplanetary Internet

novaderrik
2005-Aug-23, 09:43 PM
how do we know it hasn't already happened?
could be that every satellite up there is part of a network already, but we just don't know it.
it probably is a network that is only used to spy on people that don't trust the government, and is also used to send fake transmissions back to earth from the voyager probes and every other piece of equipment we've supposedly sent out of low earth orbit..
i wonder if any woowoos have thought of this yet? maybe i should head over to one of their boards and put it out there and see how it goes..

Omicron Persei 8
2005-Aug-24, 07:17 AM
how do we know it hasn't already happened?
could be that every satellite up there is part of a network already, but we just don't know it.
it probably is a network that is only used to spy on people that don't trust the government, and is also used to send fake transmissions back to earth from the voyager probes and every other piece of equipment we've supposedly sent out of low earth orbit..
i wonder if any woowoos have thought of this yet? maybe i should head over to one of their boards and put it out there and see how it goes..

Should I adjust my tinfoil hat a bit?

lek
2005-Aug-24, 08:20 AM
Somehow an tcp/ip like "syn-syn/ack-ack" type communication to Mars makes me #-o a bit...
"Hey thanks to new solarsystem wide internet we can now guide the rovers using only 30 mins delay when before it took a whopping 10 mins to send a command through..."

Sure it would be cheaper to launch probes without a radio package capabale of communicating with earth directly, but for that to happen the bandwidth of the "core network" would have to be pretty good. Upgrading and maintenance of the network sounds a bit expensive though.

Maybe someday when there are manned bases in mars and some jupiter/saturn moons etc this would be practical, but not exactly worth worrying about just yet imo.

ToSeek
2005-Aug-26, 04:38 PM
NASA responds (http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/WEBONLY/publicfeature/aug05/0805inte2.html)


Recent events at NASA have overtaken the internal debates described in your August article (“The Interplanetary Internet”).

It is important to note that there has been absolutely no disagreement at all between Goddard and JPL that the IP-suite of protocols could be of operational utility in space environments. In fact, JPL and the DOD teamed up in 1993 to extend the terrestrial Internet protocol suite into space and by 1999 full international “SCPS” standards existed [http://public.ccsds.org/publications/SIS.aspx] that would permit a conventional FTP/TCP/IP dialog with an orbiting spacecraft to occur. These extended Internet protocols were test-flown on the Space Technology Research Vehicle in high Earth orbit during the Spring of 1996—arguably the first live demonstration of “IP in Space”—and the more recent Goddard CANDOS experiment on the Shuttle in 2003 confirmed that the native protocols can work in low Earth orbit. Disagreements between JPL and Goddard centered not around the viability of the IP protocol suite, but on the selection of the standard underlying space link protocol over which they should run. Those disagreements—which have absolutely nothing to do with the merits of IP-based space data communications—have now been largely resolved.

IP-based data exchange is therefore clearly feasible in the space mission environment, but some technical issues have to be dealt with.