December IPNSIG Newsletter

Dear IPNSIG members,

As we are closely approaching the closure of this year, I am proud to share the highlights of IPNSIG activities in 2021.  As you may be following, our focus and scope has broadened significantly this year to realize our vision of expanding networking to interplanetary space.

Here are some of the takeaways from this year:

  • IPNSIG vision and mission statement

The IPNSIG renewed our vision and mission statement to articulate our roles in the endeavors toward expanding networking to space. We stay committed to pursue these goals together with the membership.  You can find the latest statement here.

  • Strategy and Roadmap development

Looking 100 years ahead, the IPNSIG published a report titled Strategy Toward a Solar System Internet For Humanity”, which became the first attempt for IPNSIG to lay out strategic efforts toward the realization of a Solar System Internet (SSI). Our next steps would be to communicate the roadmap with the various stakeholders and shape the future together toward a common SSI structure that would benefit humanity.

  • Pilot Projects to mature DTN technology

During 2021, the IPNSIG Pilot Projects Working Group with members of several continents, has developed technologies to test and refine the Delay and Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) protocols that will permit an Interplanetary Internet to be used in Earth and Space. The projects have included connecting cloud systems on DTN, DTN multicasting and video transmission, DTN routing, usage of Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things on DTN and Applications Development using DTN. The deployment of a Global DTN Testing Plan to test the DTN protocols on Earth as well as Space, is in process, and the ssi@home project is planned to permit users to test the Interplanetary Internet communications technology from their home in the near future. If you would like to be updated on these projects please send us a message from here.

  • Outreach and communications

We hosted three webinar events this calendar year.

  1. In February, we hosted an online workshop: “How to build a sustainable IPN”.
  2. In June, we hosted a webinar: “Communicating over Extreme Distances’’, presented by Dr. Don M. Boroson from the Lincoln Laboratory at MIT.
  3. Earlier in December, we hosted a webinar presentation by Dr. Lara Suzuki: “Recent Firsts in DTN Research”.

In October, we performed a successful emergency migration of our website to a new hosting service provider. We now have a more robust platform that is backed up daily. In January, we will be migrating to a Virtual Private Server, providing dedicated compute and storage services.

  • Technical documentation library

An extensive collection of papers, articles, presentations, etc. pertaining to delay-tolerant networking and the solar system internet has been assembled and organized for easy access and research.  The library is built on the Zotero platform and is updated on an ongoing basis by members of the Technical Documentation Working Group.  To start using this helpful information resource, look here.

The other good news is that the IPNSIG has passed the ISOC peer review which was our initial milestone toward becoming the ISOC Interplanetary Chapter! We are now a Chapter in Formation. We have submitted documentation to the State of California to incorporate and also to the IRS to secure an EIN. As soon as we receive our package from the State, we will start the process of qualifying as a U.S. 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 

We will keep you updated as we progress.

And in 2022, the board decided to launch a new educational program called the “IPNSIG Academy” and the “Architecture and Governance Working Group (AWG)” that would push us forward to promote our Vision & Mission.  Stay tuned for more details in the coming year.

Lastly, we wish you a safe, enjoyable and peaceful holiday season and I look forward to working together in 2022!

Thank you.

Yosuke Kaneko

IPNSIG Chairman

November Newsletter

The IETF DTN Working group is meeting next Friday, 11 November, at 0700-0900 EDT.

Remote registration for a single day is $125 ($50 for students). You may register here.

The agenda for this meeting is:

  • Admin, Chairs, 10 mins.
  • Charter and Milestone Overview and Discussion, 20 mins.
    • DTN Chairs
  • BPv7 Types Registry Extension, 15 mins.
    • Brian Sipos
  • BPv7 Wireshark Dissector Review and Demonstration, 10 mins
    • Brian Sipos
  • BPSec COSE Security Context Status, 10mins
    • Brian Sipos
  • BPSec Policy Best Practices and Demonstration, 15 mins
    • Sarah Heiner
  • Asynchronous Management Architecture Updates, 15 mins
    • Emery Annis
  • Challenged Network Management Tooling, 10 mins
    • Sarah Helble
  • Any other business / Open Mic, 15 mins

This meeting (and upcoming ones) are our opportunity to express the requirements / needs of the space community to IETF as they evolve the commercial DTN standards. The Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) often seeks to profile the commercial standards for use in space and strives for interoperability with them. Ensuring that the IETF standards can accommodate the needs of the space community is critical to advancing the status and interoperability of the systems that will form the Solar System Internet (SSI).

October Newsletter

IPNSIG Library Announcement 

Ginny Spicer, IPNSIG Technical Documentation Working Group Member

Part of the IPNSIG’s mission to expand networking to interplanetary space is to promote DTN technology and facilitate its maturation. It is this mission that has led the IPNSIG Technical Documentation Working Group (TDWG) to create a technical documentation library. We are pleased to announce the IPNSIG Library and share it with you for perusal, research, and inspiration. I recently spoke to two of our IPNSIG board members, Vint Cerf and Scott Burleigh (Technical Documentation Working Group Lead), about the reasoning behind this library and the vision for its future.

[Video embed below]

Visit the IPNSIG Library here: 

This project advances access to relevant technical information for everyone involved in interplanetary or terrestrial DTN. We have gathered references to journal articles, conference papers, video presentations, books, blog posts, and more. From ant colony optimization to the ZebraNet, resources are searchable, organized, tagged, and given proper attribution. 

The library is hosted in Zotero™, which enables you to easily locate items of interest, generate citations, and copy sections of the library to your own reference manager. 

The IPNSIG Library currently has over 200 items related to the interplanetary networking initiative, the Solar System Internet, DTN security, and DTN protocol implementations. Resources include complete descriptions, language codes, and tags to help you find useful and relevant information easily. 

As new DTN research and implementations occur, we will add references to their documentation to the library so that everyone can benefit. If you find a new resource to add to the IPNSIG Library, please email the resource link to

Come browse through the library to learn about the future of the Interplanetary Internet and some of the incredible uses of DTN. 

September Newsletter

Dear IPNSIG members,

Since I assumed chair last year, many vigorous activities have been undertaken at IPNSIG, propelling our efforts even further to expand networking to space.
Just one year ago, I felt a need to lay out a narrative and some strategic efforts to be assessed toward establishing an interplanetary network. That was high on my agenda. After several intense discussions at the Strategy Working Group and at our engaging workshop held February 2021, IPNSIG has successfully published a strategic roadmap in the form of a Strategy Report .
Today, the report has been shared with the leaderships of the space agencies and private entities across the globe. IPNSIG has also offered to participate in an assembly to further refine the concept of the strategy together, working to shape the future of an interplanetary network.
In light of these exciting events, I am delighted to share that the board recently adopted a new VISION and MISSION STATEMENT to articulate our goals and roles in the development of our endeavors.

The other good news is that we are progressing to become the first space chapter at ISOC and at the same time, the plan is for IPNSIG to file as a U.S. 501(c)3 non-profit organization operating in the State of California.
Your engagement with our mission continues to make a difference. Your passion, expertise, and contributions are all the impetus that brings us closer to realizing our new vision.
So please, let us know of your interests, comments or feedback by sending email to We will always be happy to address them.
Your voice makes a difference. Let’s make our journey even more exciting.
Yosuke Kaneko

June/July Newsletter

Creating a high-speed backbone for the Interplanetary Internet
Earlier this year, we were truly amazed watching the high-quality videos coming from the Mars’ Perseverance mission descend on Mars. NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN) is the current interplanetary communications backbone that made watching these videos possible. The DSN relies on radio frequency signals and a global ground network to provide communications from Earth to the upmost distant spacecrafts (Voyager twins), in addition to the many missions being carried out across our solar system. The Deep Space Network is completed by NASA’s Near Earth Network, a series of ground stations providing support to spacecrafts closer to Earth (all the way to the Moon) and the NASA Space network, a satellite relay service that provides up to 24×7 coverage of spacecrafts near Earth such as the International Space Station (ISS), and supporting mission launches as they transit the low Earth orbit. The European Space Agency’s Estrack network also provides for deep space and near Earth capabilities, Russia, China, Japan and India also have space networks with at least certain coverage of near and deep space.

Surprisingly, the DSN was formally created in the 70’s, much before Earth’s network of networks, the Internet. At the time, data communications were not part of the day to day communications paradigms so networks were very much focused on physical (radio) and link layer (e.g. error correction and link establishment/maintenance). Because of it, the DSN as well as the space and near Earth networks have gone through major upgrades to enhance communications to adapt to digital/data communications as well as improving link and physical layer capabilities. The DSN, being a limited resource (e.g. there is only one 70 m Antenna per coverage area), is slowly becoming a bottleneck as the number of missions (and data transmission requirements) increase. It has also come to a point in which these systems have stressed out the physical characteristics of the microwave links (and coding schemes) to get the highest throughput, i.e. several Megabit per second (106 bit/sec) at Mars. This is just enough to transmit one stream of video at high definition. Now, compare this to having Gigabit (109 bit/sec) at home, and you get an idea of the data rate requirements for a settlement on the Moon or Mars. A new high-speed backbone is needed for the Interplanetary Internet!


Figure. Downlink data rate evolution, from JPL/DESCANSO Deep Space Communications Book.

NASA, other space agencies and the private sector have been working on the next steps in high-speed space communications. A major change that requires moving up from radio frequencies (with wavelengths in the centimeter order) to optical frequencies (tens to hundreds of nanometer). This would allow for higher throughput, in the order of hundreds of megabit per seconds to Mars. Many experiments and demonstrations are being built to elevate the technical readiness of the high-speed space optical network.
• In 2013, NASA successfully launched the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration (LLCD) which was capable of achieving 622 Megabit per second (Mbps) from the Moon.

• Later this year (2021), NASA will launch the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD), a demonstration of a two way laser relay system, critical in creating a near-Earth space optical network. This is the first stepping stone in augmenting the existing radio-based TDRS (Tracking Data Relay System). The LCRD will also make use of the new Optical Ground Stations (OGS-1 in California and OGS-2 in Hawaii). Note the European Space Agency (ESA) have already made 1-way optical relay possible with their European Data Relay System (EDRS) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have completed direct link checkout with optical ground systems in preparation to provide 2-way optical inter-satellite relay services using the Japanese Data Relay System (JDRS).
• Also in 2021, NASA will launch the Terabyte Infrared Delivery (TBIRD) demonstration in low-Earth orbit that plans, via an optical link on a CubeSat, to achieve burst download speeds of 200 Gigabit per second, allowing for downloading large amount of data per day (Terabytes, hence the name).

• In 2022, NASA plans to deliver the Integrated LCRD Low Earth Orbit User Modem and Amplifier Terminal (ILLUMA-T) aboard the International Space Station (ISS), becoming the first experimental space user of the LCRD, with the goal of achieving bit rates up to 1.2 Gigabit per second to Earth, increasing the bandwidth for research and development experiments’ data.
• Launched in 2022, JPL’s Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) payload will travel onboard the Psyche mission spacecraft. Starting its first year of travel (the spacecraft is expected to reach the 16 Psyche asteroid in 2026), the experiment will test optical communications over extreme distances, obtaining valuable information about pointing challenges, among others. For the ground segment, two existing telescopes are enhanced including a new Ground Laser transmitter and a receiver respectively. The goal is to achieve 10 to 100 more throughput than conventional (RF) systems using comparable size and power.
These experiments and demonstrations will lead to the use of the Orion Optical Communications System (known as O2O or Optical to Orion) in the Artemis II mission aimed for 2023. The goal of the optical communications system is to be able to support throughput over 600 Megabit per second, enough to livestream ultra high-definition (also known as 4k) video from the Moon.
As the above lines indicate, there is great research, development, experimentation and plans going on for creating a high-speed space communications backbone. And there is more to it. Enabling a high-speed network also requires better performance at the networking level. Existing Delay Tolerant Networking (DTN) implementations may not be fast-enough in processing and routing/forwarding bundles (the data), potentially becoming a bottleneck. There are already signs of this issue in the DTN implementation on the International Space Station (ISS). Researchers at NASA Glenn Research Center are working on a High-speed DTN architecture to optimize spacecraft hardware design to better accommodate for high-speed (DTN) networking.

From our group, the InterPlanetary Networking Special Interest Group (IPNSIG), we encourage you to continue gaining interest in space networking, and to contribute to our mission of realizing a functional and scalable system of interplanetary data communications: The High-Speed Interplanetary Internet!

Dr. Alberto Montilla
IPNSIG Board Member
Spatiam Corporation Founding Board Member