NASA established the Delay/Distribution Tolerant Networking (DTN) service on the International Space Station. DTN service will optimize the data for space station experiments and faster data transfer between earth and space. The system has the capability to store data in their system that can be later retransmitted to specific destinations in a network in space.


This service allows the storage of data packages in nodes along a communication path, which can be forwarded or retransmitted to destinations on earth or Spacecraft in space. This enhances present Internet protocols which require the nodes be connected during transmission of data.

DTN could also be utilized by humans, once they´re sent to Mars or other planets in the cosmos.

Internet aboard the space station

DTN was included in the Telescience Resource kit (TReK) --a software Kit aboard the station that allows researchers to transmit and receive data between operations. This will simplify the software already in the space station, benefiting both; astronauts and users on earth. The capability of the service on the space station establishes the space station as a node in the evolving future solar system internet (SSI)

Communication networks

The communication between earth and spacecraft in space involve great distances. In the present, NASA uses three communication networks for data transmission; the Deep Space Network (DSN), the Space Network (SN) and the Near Earth Network (NEN).

In previous space missions, NASA has made use of direct or single relay links to be able to send and receive data from spacecraft; however future exploration will require more complex communication paths.

Efficient solar system internet connection

Solar system communication between several nodes will function much like the present internet on earth, operating with terrestrial IP or independently from it.

DTN provides the automatic storage and delivery of data. Each packet of data that´s received can be immediately forwarded or stored for later retransmission. Although DTN was designed for space applications, it can also provide solutions for terrestrial applications, such as mobiles and disaster response networks.