The US space agency NASA has successfully tested the first deep space communications network modeled on the Internet.
Engineers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, headed by Adrian Hooke, team leader and manager of space-networking architecture, technology and standards at NASA Headquarters in Washington, used software called Disruption-Tolerant Networking (DTN) to transmit dozens of space images to and from a NASA science spacecraft located about 20 million miles from Earth.
This is the first step in creating a totally new space communications capability, an interplanetary Internet.
NASA and Vint Cerf, a vice president at Google Inc., in Mountain View, California, partnered 10 years ago to develop this software protocol. The DTN sends information using a method that differs from the normal Internet’s Transmission-Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, or TCP/IP, communication suite, which Cerf co-designed.