The first satellite to utilise the ‘bundle’ protocol in space will be unveiled by Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) at the end of this month.
The disruption and delay tolerant networking protocol is to be pioneered onboard the UK-DMC Satellite, an Earth observation craft built by SSTL.
According to SSTL, orbital dynamics frequently cause disruptions to wireless communication networks. Through cooperative research efforts, SSTL has addressed this issue by creating the ‘bundle’ protocol.
Earlier this month, the UK-DMC satellite used delay and disruption tolerant ‘bundles’ to send an image of South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope to NASA Glenn Research Center, via SSTL’s Mission Control Centre in Guildford.
The image was downloaded in several fragments and later sent across the internet to be restored.
By fragmenting the data between two separate satellites, the ‘bundle’ protocol revealed minimum disruption with greater speed and efficiency of transmission.
The satellite will be a new addition to a group of four satellites, which currently rely on standard Internet Protocol (IP) networking to send imagery to ground stations.
SSTL’s use of IP has already made it possible to take internet technology deeper into space.
The company is now hoping that the Cisco Systems Router, combined with the use of the ‘bundle’ protocol onboard the UK-DMC satellite, will pave the way in more secure and effective connections in space.
The work will be presented on 30 September at the 59th International Astronautical Congress 2008 in Glasgow.