Title of Paper: Next-Generation Space Internet

Principal Author: Dr. Keith Scott

Abstract: This paper describes mechanisms for allocating resources in the communications path from space-based instruments to ground-based consumers / controllers on the Internet. We begin by examining mechanisms for allocating bandwidth on space-to-space and space-to-ground links. We then look at signaling mechanisms that allow applications to interact with the network to request and allocate resources in the end-to-end communications path. Here we consider including resources other than communications resources, such as on-board power and attitude control. Third, we consider efficient protocols to allow spacecraft to communicate even if they change their points of attachment to the terrestrial Internet. Finally, we examine security protocols and architectures that allow users on the Internet to receive data from, and possibly to control, space-borne instruments in a secure manner.

Resource reservation provides a unified mechanism for imposing policy on resource usage. Also, allowing flows to reserve the communications resources they need ahead of time increases communications efficiency by reducing contention and loss due to congestion, both of which can cause common reliable transport protocols to reduce their transmission rates. In order for space-based instruments to communicate with endpoints on the Internet, they need to be addressable via the Internet Protocol (IP). IP routing associates addresses with fixed positions in the network topology. By modifying the protocols used to support mobile Internet users on Earth, we can efficiently support spacecraft that change their point of attachment to the network topology as they communicate first with one groundstation and then another. Our security work allows secure communications while maintaining the efficiency necessary for space communications.