Modeling and Design of a Communication Architecture Supporting Lunar Exploration
Date: September 25 - September 28, 2005
We discuss some basic requirements and trade-offs for designing a communication network supporting the needs of lunar exploration missions. We describe the unique characteristics of this network and outline a prototype network architecture. The proposed network consists of three distinct segments – a terrestrial network on Earth, a network on the lunar surface, and a space segment comprising a satellite constellation that connect the two surface networks. We develop a simulation platform that includes the network topology, node orbits and mobility, and test the network performance with different applications and traffic loads. We present simulation results obtained with our models that illustrate the network connectivity and delay for varying satellite orbital patterns and traffic characteristics. We also discuss the requirements and constraints for providing a secure infrastructure for end-to-end communication in space exploration networks and suggest algorithms and protocols for implementing end-to-end encryption, authentication and secure group communication.