Traditionally, space communication systems have relied on dedicated point-to-point or single-hop relay links. Such links are not always available, often have long time delays, and are limited in number. A networked communication architecture is desired to support future space missions, as networked communications significantly increase the operational flexibility and robustness of missions, as well as enable mission classes otherwise untenable. However, the terrestrial Internet protocols do not work well in highly disrupted and delayed environments, and new protocols are needed.
The goal of the AES Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) project is to develop and deploy a protocol suite that extends the terrestrial Internet capabilities into highly stressed data communication environments where the conventional Internet protocols do not work well. The DTN protocol suite is also being internationally standardized and will enable a Solar System Internet (SSI) architecture to support future space missions.
DTN is a suite of protocols that extends the terrestrial Internet capabilities into highly stressed data communication environments where the conventional Internet does not work well. These environments are typically subject to frequent disruptions, unidirectional links, possibly long delays, and high error rates.
The DTN protocol suite can run over the existing Internet Protocol (IP) suite or it can operate by itself as a full Internetworking protocol. DTN provides assured delivery of data using an automatic store-and-forward mechanism. The DTN suite also contains network management, security, routing, and quality-of-service mechanisms.
DTN is being standardized by the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and all of the DTN protocols will be open international standards, supported by open-source software. Several DTN implementations exist and are publicly available, including NASA’s Interplanetary Overlay Network (ION) implementation (http://sourceforge.net/projects/ion-dtn/).
This AES project was transferred to the NASA Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program, October 2020.More »
Missions operated using an internet and automated mission communications can result in more data from spacecraft and reduced operations costs.
DTN is being standardized by the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and all of the DTN protocols will be open international standards, supported by open-source software that is freely available to Industry for incorporation into their products.
DTN can be used by other agencies to enable reliable, automated, and internetworked communication in disrupted environments, potentially resulting in more data return and reduced operations costs. Other agencies may also be able to leverage NASA assets as part of the Solar System Internet.More »
|Organizations Performing Work
|Johnson Space Center (JSC)
|Glenn Research Center (GRC)
|Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
|Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
|Johns Hopkins University: Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL)
|Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)
|The MITRE Corporation