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The Internet NASA Networking Space

ISS Launches First Permanent Node of "Interplanetary Internet" 121

schliz writes "Researchers developing the 'Interplanetary Internet' have launched its first permanent node in space via a payload aboard the International Space Station. The network is based on a new communications protocol called Delay/Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN). It will be tested heavily this month, and could give astronauts direct Internet access within a year. The Interplanetary Internet is the brainchild of Vint Cerf ('father of the Internet'), among others. Last year, NASA tested the technology on the Deep Impact spacecraft." Update: 07/13 20:01 GMT by KD : If by "permanent" we mean seven years.
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ISS Launches First Permanent Node of "Interplanetary Internet"

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  • by ei4anb ( 625481 ) on Monday July 13, 2009 @08:03AM (#28674535)
    "It will be tested heavily this month" , so, they are going to post the URL on slashdot ?
  • lol (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 13, 2009 @08:05AM (#28674563)

    It...could give astronauts direct Internet access within a year

    i am in ur space station, trollin' ur boards!

    • That's high latency.
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        True, but there's a certain je ne sais quoi to being able to simply drop a piece of space junk on that asshole who just ruined your thread.

  • "Permanent"??? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Monday July 13, 2009 @08:06AM (#28674569)
    Uh... sorry. But NASA's plans for the ISS, or anything like it at this time, are hardly "permanent".

    If you want them to be, get off your butts and tell that to the Whitehouse and your Congresscritters. Because they obviously don't know.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by owlstead ( 636356 )
      Permanent is relative. It may be permanent compared to the time ISS will stay in space from the moment they install the node. In the end, of course, nothing is completely permanent compared to the time left to the universe - unless it disappears suddenly.
    • by jo42 ( 227475 )

      I read somewhere NASA plans to de-orbit the ISS in 2016 due to budgetary concerns...

      • by jc42 ( 318812 )

        I read somewhere NASA plans to de-orbit the ISS in 2016 due to budgetary concerns...
        You probably read it here on slashdot. In my FF tab showing the /. main page, it's three stories higher on the screen. TFA for that one references a couple of news publications' stories on the topic.

        (Yeah, I read that one earlier than this one, too. They both appeared on my screen at the same time. I guess I was busy and didn't refresh /. for over two hours. ;-)

        • by caluml ( 551744 )

          I read somewhere NASA plans to de-orbit the ISS in 2016 due to budgetary concerns...
          You probably read it here on slashdot. In my FF tab showing the /. main page, it's three stories higher on the screen.

          Er, whoosh? Also - jo42, jc42 - is this some new meme?

    • If you missed the other article, this "permanent' node will be de-orbited in 2016.

  • by lxs ( 131946 ) on Monday July 13, 2009 @08:09AM (#28674593)

    Before we'll have our first bittorrent tracker on mars.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Be fun for the RIAA to try and seize that one.

  • by BenEnglishAtHome ( 449670 ) on Monday July 13, 2009 @08:10AM (#28674601)

    Hmmmmm. Will we get an earthly version of DTN that ensures I can successfully download large files over TOR? Now, *that* would be useful.

    • by jd ( 1658 )

      Until Linux and the *BSDs have DTN as standard, you're not likely to see anything serious using it. DTN could be seriously useful in a lot of circumstances, but look at the hassle getting multicasting or IPv6 - and these are protocols that have long been supported both in ISPs routers and the OS' in people's homes.

  • Define "permanent" (Score:5, Informative)

    by qengho ( 54305 ) on Monday July 13, 2009 @08:11AM (#28674613)
    It'll be permanent until the ISS is de-orbited in 2016, [] eh?
  • by drachenfyre ( 550754 ) on Monday July 13, 2009 @08:12AM (#28674621) Homepage
    The consequences might be a little rough.
  • So, how's going to set the record for sending the first pornography packet into outer space?

  • Traffic capacity? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I would be interested in reading some specifications about what traffic capacity this node has.

  • pr0n from space! The *new* frontier!
  • Can't wait... (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Trashman ( 3003 )

    ... to FTP to Mars.

  • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Monday July 13, 2009 @08:34AM (#28674777)
    They named the spacecraft "Deep Impact" ...Who's the rocket scientist who came up with that one?
  • If experience on Slashdot has taught me anything, having the Internet on ISS is a bad idea. The astronauts will spend half the time surfing the Internet instead of running 'scientific experiments'.

    .. or downloading the latest Michael Jackson DVDs for a hands on tutorial of the 'Moonwalk'.
  • Has anyone taken into account the sheer volume of pron that takes up the vast majority of the internet and what kind of impression that will leave on impressionable alien children as they zoom by our wee rock? Not to mention all of the middle aged aliens seeing our internet and thinking that if were they to land that it would be one giant non stop orgy filled with only the prettiest people,mountains of blow,and lots and lots of latex.
  • Not to be used for Counterstrike.
  • Last Post (Score:4, Funny)

    by PotatoFiend ( 1330299 ) on Monday July 13, 2009 @09:08AM (#28675027)
    Sorry, posting this from ISS.
  • by scubamage ( 727538 ) on Monday July 13, 2009 @09:11AM (#28675067)
    Ok, dorky question, but what protocols is it using? I mean, how does it make up for the sometimes massive EMD that will be in the way occasionally? A thunderstorm? TCP doesn't seem like it would be enough to handle the interference. Is it a microwave transmission? Are they using blinky lights? Are they using ethernet or some WAN technology? Do they use IPv6?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 13, 2009 @09:46AM (#28675441)

      it uses, of course, DTN, as the protocol. DTN sits in between IP and the other layers (UDP,TCP).. Think of it is as intelligent "store and forward" routing for long latency or sporadic links. It has a lot of flavors, but ultimately, you transfer a bundle of data to another node (perhaps on a predetermined schedule), when the other node agrees it's got it, "custody" of the bundle transfers.

      The physical layer is standard microwave for space (S and K band for station, X band and Ka band for deep space links of the future). It can also be carried over wired media (or heck, avian carriers as well)

      • You rock anon :) Thanks! I found the other article had some info but it didn't seem to explain much (kept swapping around terms so I didn't know how correct it was, or if it was all still theoretical at time of publishing) and it didn't really indicate that DTN works in between layers 3 and 4. Sounds like it'll be some cool technology.
      • The physical layer is standard microwave for space (S and K band for station, X band and Ka band for deep space links of the future). It can also be carried over wired media (or heck, avian carriers as well)

        Though using wired (or RFC 1149- or 2549-style) connections into space is not advised.

  • What? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ledow ( 319597 )

    Sorry, I don't see how this technology and "using the Internet" are at all related.

    It's a store-and-forward technology designed to allow interruptions of seconds, days, weeks, months, etc. in communication. How does that relate to the modern Internet or being able to "post on Twitter"? What you're saying is that I can request a webpage and (via suitable protocol-translation at some gateway presumably back on Earth) eventually my request will be sent - TCP handshaking is out of the window, timeouts will de

    • Asynchronous requests aren't that difficult to implement. Most XML-based request-response languages (SOAP, SPML, SAML) have at least a notion of asynch transmission.

      Worried about privacy? Just PKI encrypt + sign the whole request so you know where it came from, and who it is destined to, and you don't need the age old "sessions" anymore. Sessions only make sense in a system that relies on synchronous communications.

      Now of course, we can't ensure delivery, but then again, I don't see how that would be
    • > What this actually *might* be is a very, very delay-tolerant email setup... we have one
      > of those... it's called "retry and exponential backoff".

      It's called UUCP.

    • by ae1294 ( 1547521 )

      Sounds like FIDO.NET for outer space.

    • FTP-by-email, but for any Internet protocol, not just FTP.

  • ... will allow Goatse to spread even further...

  • I'm pretty sure that MDU Communications [] has volunteered our condo building to test DTN for the last year or so. I guess they figure since they have an exclusive contract with our building and we don't have any other choice of ISP (besides dial-up and capped 3G cellular), we'd be perfect. I can report that Slashdot is working this morning, although Google is not. Maybe once the system is deployed to ISS, they'll stop injecting delays and disruptions!
  • i wonder how long it takes to get a ping reply from outer space.
  • Astronauts finally don't have to use that shaky GPRS on their iPhones. I've heard the reception is really bad over there.
  • I liked the idea, and went on to read more about the protocol.
    I can definitely see some uses for this on earth.

    One example would be on cruising sailboats that only have occasional access to inexpensive wifi hotspots, and the rest of the time have to use slow SSB links. Another
    example might be for use in automotive networking, where a car sometimes has access to a real network, sometimes a cellular, and sometimes just some low-fi sattelite.

    But really, this all sounds eerily familiar. Could if be FidoNet and

    • > I still want to see it implemented in the next Linux kernel though.

      This does not belong in the kernel.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ae1294 ( 1547521 )

        This does not belong in the kernel.

        Have you looked at the .config file lately? THERE is A LOT that shouldn't be in the kernel..

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jd ( 1658 )

          Given that DTN sits between two layers already in the kernel, it'd be stupid to have DTN in userspace. (Stupid and potentially dangerous, as you then have a userspace app injecting data into a fairly low level part of the kernel in a way that would have to bypass a lot of safeguards.)

          As for stuff that's in the kernel that shouldn't be - want to give some examples? I can think of a few things that are probably not great, but I can't think of anything that absolutely shouldn't be there.

      • by jd ( 1658 )

        It sits between the Ethernet and TCP/UDP layers. Where the hell do you think it's going to sit? On top of the monitor? The only way you could add DTN except in the kernel is via netfilter (which would make this not only Linux-specific but also firewall technology specific, as netfilter is being replaced).

        Adding DTN in userspace via netfilter would (a) add some very stupid and unnecessary context switches, and (b) totally subvert the purpose for which netfilter is designed, not for technical reasons but poli

  • Perhaps with this, the astronauts will finally be able to download some codecs so they can watch DVDs on the space station. []
  • I thought the "big deal" with NASA's new protocol was that it could handle the overly-long round trip times (stupid speed of light and vast interplanetary distances!) that would make TCP unusable. I suppose that's what the store-and-forward process is suppose to get around (among other things), but the article doesn't make that particularly clear.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jandrese ( 485 )
      A single DTN node is not terribly useful, where you see advantages is when you have multiple lossy or intermittent links along the path. In this case, TCP will perform very poorly as it can only even try to push data on the cases where all of the links are up and will suffer a lot from TCP's slow start.

      Think of it like a game of Frogger: TCP only knows how to play by waiting until all of the cars and logs are line up just right so it can jump all of the way across at once. DTN plays like a human player
      • by jd ( 1658 )

        This makes it great for wireless networks in which routes are highly variable or not otherwise knowable in advance. Routing protocols [] already exist for such indeterminate networks [], but if the protocol you're transmitting has too short a timeout, it's useless. You'd lose far too many packets and never get any work done.

        So, for such networks, you'd need DTN. DTN would also be useful when using Mobile IP, where the two networks you're crossing between have a gap between them, so there isn't 100% coverage. Then

  • one can hear you get fragged.

    (To you /.er's that love to correct people: I know there will be latency issues....shut up.)

  • Thank God they didn't pull a Branson on themselves and call it "InterGalactic Internet" or some such nonsense.
  • Obviously this isn't THAT permanent since it's being de-orbited in 2016.
  • In space, no-one can hear you get Rickrolled...
  • Interplanetary is defined as, "existing or occurring between planets" [] or "being or occurring between the planets or between a planet and the sun." []

    How is is a setup between a space station and a planet interplanetary?

  • Will colonists on Jupiter's moons (except for Europa of course) be able to play WoW? That 17 minute latency would be a real game killer.
  • by jc42 ( 318812 )

    If Vint Cerf is the 'father of the Internet', I wonder who the mother is ...

  • $ wget [com.mars]
    Error: Connection timed out.

    20 minutes later...
    TCP packet from just arrived.
  • by SEWilco ( 27983 )
    Worlds of Warcraft.
  • 1) Give astronaut CD of latest pop music craze.
    2) Have astronaut rip CD to MP3.
    3) Create and host torrent of album from ISS.
    4) Make RIAA go to orbit to subpoena astronaut.
    5) ???
    6) Profit!

    This might actually help us get a real commercial space program going.

  • All your space stations are belong to us.


  • Can I get an email account on their server? Maybe ?

  • UUCP - the store and forward network of the 20th century. Will be interesting to see if they come up with alternative naming, and whether Harri's Lament still holds- "All the good ones are taken!"
  • I'm so old I remember being taught algorithms for ancient reel-to-reel computers (think background of stuff in the '60s TV show Lost in Space) for merging, sorting, and so on, giant databases based when having access to 1, 2, or 3 reels and a severely limited amount of RAM. Efficient in that context can be way different from the modern World of Plenty programming.

    Six hundred years ago, I once made a joke somewhere about how bad the lag would be playing a game of Quake intercontinentally using courierred ta

  • This gives the astronauts some more intellectual material to spend their time on in the otherwise potentially-boring interplanetary missions. Of course, the term 'intellectual' may be a stretch. Could also be a reason to spruce up a locally-stored-thread-type service, to give the astronauts something that they could read without a 16-minute wait. Their replies would still have a long wait, but who cares, it's not like they are clicking on a hyperlink.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.