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Published: Sep 25, 2007


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This article was Originally Published on Jun 13, 2005 in Volume: 9  Issue: 4

NASA Report Sees Potential for IP-Based Space Communications


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NASA has released a report finding positive results from a demonstration of using a commercial, off-the-shelf router onboard a satellite in an effort to bring IP to space, and to further enhance military network-centric warfare capabilities.

A Cisco Internet router was placed on a low earth orbit satellite in 2003, and subsequent tests showed how IP technology can be used to communicate with satellite payloads in space.

One part of the project involved joint efforts by the military, Cisco, General Dynamics and others to test a Virtual Missions Operations Center (VMOC), in which soldiers in the field can use a laptop computer to task a satellite to take ground images for them.

In the VMOC experiments, users at the remote battlefield operations center at Vandenberg Air Force Base requested images of specific areas of the Earth, which were taken in real-time by the satellite and delivered using standard IP. The VMOC provides an intelligent way to prioritize conflicting commands, and taps intel from throughout the military’s resources to arrive at those priority listings.

The successful demonstrations prove that network centric operations using space-based assets and could easily be extended to air, ground and sea assets. In addition, NASA expects to save at least 25 percent of the cost of future spacecraft development by implementing architecture similar to the one tested with the VMOC.

Following is a link to the text of the report:

http://roland.grc.nasa.gov/~ivancic/papers_presentations/cleovmoc.pdf.



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