Skip Navigation
Advanced Exploration Systems Division

Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN)

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

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.

Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) is a protocol suite 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 publically available, including NASA’s Interplanetary Overlay Network (ION) implementation (http://sourceforge.net/projects/ion-dtn/).

More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

Share this Project

Organizational Responsibility

Project Management

Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

Target Destinations

Supported Mission Type

Light bulb

Suggest an Edit

Recommend changes and additions to this project record.
^