How to Route a Package to Mars

Johann A. Schöpfer

Playlists: 'camp2023' videos starting here / audio

Space missions need data networks, and it's not exactly a TCP/IP world up there. This talk will give an introduction to space data networks. Challenges at the physical layer are not in scope. Instead I will illustrate protocols, routing algorithms, and other schemes that were designed for networking in space.

Space Communication is, as many others, a fractured discipline, with many idiosyncratic solutions built for the needs of specific missions. Someone with decades of specialized industry experience could surely give a good picture of recurring problems and industry practices. Unfortunately I don't have those, but thankfully the people who do have been writing standards. (The presupposition becomes less and less true with time anyway, as agencies look towards inter-mission and inter-agency interoperability.) The primary basis for this talk are various documents, published by relevant working groups of the CCSDS and IETF.

This talk will be about the protocol ecosystem used in space networking, highlighting some clever technical solutions, and ending on some visions and challenges for the future. I presuppose some knowledge of classic internet protocols and the ISO-OSI layer model, but you should be able to follow the talk without it.

(also check out: (german))