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  • Use of the Delay-Tolerant Networking Bundle Protocol from space

    Paper number



    Dr. Lloyd Wood, Cisco Systems, United Kingdom


    Mr. Will Ivancic, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)/Glenn Research Center, United States


    Mr. Chris Jackson, SSTL, United Kingdom


    Mr. Wesley M. Eddy, Verizon Federal Network Systems / NASA GRC, United States


    Mr. James Northam, SSTL, United Kingdom


    Mr. Alex da Silva Curiel, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd., United Kingdom


    Mr. Dave Stewart, Verizon Federal Network Systems / NASA GRC, United States



    The Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC), constructed by Surrey Satellite Technoogy Ltd (SSTL), is a multi-satellite Earth-imaging low-Earth-orbit sensor network where captured image swaths are stored onboard each satellite and later downloaded from the satellite payloads to a ground station.
    Store-and-forward of images with capture and later download gives each satellite the characteristics of a node in a Delay/Disruption Tolerant Network (DTN). Originally developed for the 'Interplanetary Internet', DTNs are now under investigation in an Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) DTN research group (RG), which has developed a ‘bundle’ architecture and protocol.
    The DMC is currently unique in its adoption of the Internet Protocol (IP) for its imaging payloads and for satellite command and control, based around reuse of commercial networking and link protocols. These satellites’ use of IP has enabled earlier experiments with the Cisco router in Low Earth Orbit (CLEO) onboard the constellation’s UK-DMC satellite.5,6 Earth images are downloaded from the satellites using a custom IP-based high-speed transfer protocol developed by SSTL, Saratoga, which tolerates unusual link environments. Saratoga has been documented in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) for wider adoption.
    We experiment with use of DTN RG bundle concepts onboard the UK-DMC satellite, by examining how Saratoga can be used as a convergence layer to carry the DTN Bundle Protocol, so that sensor images can be delivered to ground stations and beyond as bundles. This is the first use of the DTN Bundle Protocol from a space environment.
    We use our practical experience to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the Bundle architecture for DTN use, paying attention to fragmentation, custody transfer, and reliability issues.
    Abstract document


    Manuscript document

    IAC-08.B2.3.10.pdf (🔒 authorized access only).

    To get the manuscript, please contact IAF Secretariat.