Like in most other areas, space research is also moving into large-scale simulations
using powerful computers. In fact, given the high cost, and often the impracticability
of conducting live experiments, space research has moved into computer-based simulation
long before most other streams.
This idea of taking the Internet to the space comes from the need for a low cost,
high reliability inter-planetary network. When countries started sending probes
into space, each used a unique set of protocols to communicate with earth. This
was done using Deep Space Network (DSN). Since communication was done with common
ground station, need for a common protocol increased with time. Taking the Internet
to space is the offshoot of this need for standardization. The Inter-Planetary
Network (IPN), a part of Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), is managing this program.
Satellite images of earth have been easily and commercially available for sometime
now. These images are archived and distributed in various formats. Satellite images
use file formats that can save additional information used for computation.
Each satellite used customized systems for communication. For the sake of interpretability
with other systems, a set of protocols were designed, specified and implemented.
These protocols are currently being tested and they are called Space Communications
Protocols Standards (SCPS). These are the protocols used for space communication.
INTERNET TO SPACE
Earlier, satellites used customized system for communication using DSN.
With cooperation among nations and agencies, interpretability becomes important.
NASA, US Defense department and National Security Agency of the US, jointly designed,
specified, implemented and are testing a set of protocols called Space Communication
Protocols Standards (SCPS).
FOR A STANDARD PROTOCOL
There were problems in integrating the networks with DSN. The reasons which caused
the evolution of standard protocol are:
Probes of each country used unique set of protocol. Since the probes communicated
with same ground-station, need for a common protocol increased.
among agencies and countries is increasing. But since each country used different
standards, this made the problem worse.
3. Need for a low-cost, high-reliability
4. The existing Internet protocols were not sufficient
for the Space communication. The error rate and round trip delay were the main
When a common standard was required for space communication, the first plan was
to use the existing TCP/IP stack protocol. But it was not practical.
A key limitation with TCP in high bit error networks is the lack of error correction
capabilities. Since TCP cannot correct bit errors, if even a single bit within
a packet is corrupted in transit, the receiver will discard the entire packet.
This turns bit errors into packet loss.
In addition, TCP can recover from the loss of only one packet per round trip.
If the network's round-trip time is 500 milliseconds, then TCP can tolerate only
one packet loss per 500 milliseconds. To illustrate the implication of this limitation,
consider what happens if this network has a bit error rate of 10-5: TCP can send
data at a maximum rate of 200 kbps, no matter how fast the physical network is!
Another limitation of TCP is the strength of its data corruption protection. TCP
uses a relatively weak checksum scheme to detect bit errors in each packet. The
approach fails to detect bit errors relatively often at high bit error rates,
allowing corrupted data to be delivered to the application undetected.It has been
calculated that Window Based based TCP is not suitable for RTT = 40 min 20B/s
throughput on 1Mb/s link.
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