Space Networks

Distributed Space and Terrestrial Infrastructure for Multi-constellation Coexistence

This collaborative project brings together investigators from Virginia Tech, George Mason University, and the University of Surrey to develop a hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) platform that facilitates the research, development, and experimentation with adaptive communications for multi-constellation space network coexistence. The main contribution is SpaceNet, the first-of-its-kind, fully open-source HIL space network testbed that is able to emulate a fast-changing network topology with changing connectivity and latencies, challenging routing, transport protocols, and re-architecting applications.

The SpaceNet platform will support multiple networks of distributed heterogeneous platforms in multiple domains, addressing challenges in adaptive communications for multi-constellation coexistence, emulating what has been called the “internet of space things”. Direct connectivity allows for the exploration of how satellites and constellations might interconnect without revealing proprietary information of each constellation, creating the equivalent of interdomain routing for space networks. Additional capabilities examine behavior in the face of disruptions such as large solar storms. Achieving these new capabilities requires merging lab-based spacecraft hardware with a large-scale state-of-the-art wireless radio testbed to create more flexible and higher fidelity rendering of the satellite links, resulting in a networked HIL development and a testing environment that accurately models the network and dynamics; routing and re-routing data link tables on the fly, scaled to multiply-redundant algorithms and architectures; satellite-like lab hardware for testbed nodes; and virtual nodes and remote access for government, industry, and academic researchers.

SpaceNet platform will be fully open-source and available to the larger wireless and space community for research, development and experimentation purposes. 

We look forward to sharing more updates with you soon. Stayed tuned!


This project is generously supported by the National Science Foundation under Award # 2235140 "Collaborative Research: Research Infrastructure: CCRI: New: Distributed Space and Terrestrial Networking Infrastructure for Multi-Constellation Coexistence "