Delay/Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) is a communication routing protocol designed specifically for high-latency applications wherein relay nodes on a multi-hop network may appear and reappear at irregular intervals. Unlike more ubiquitous TCP/IP network communications protocols that depend on known and “always on” routing paths, DTN is well suited to space-to-space applications where individual nodes in the network may be blocked or damaged. DARPA and NASA have invested significant research and even flight test demonstrations to further develop this technology.
As described in this proposal, Blink Astro, LLC proposes to develop a small, affordable two-way radio transceiver that has built-in (native) hardware and software support for DTN communications protocols. Once developed and demonstrated, this new CubeSat-scale transceiver will be compatible with small satellites applications ranging from deep space swarms to commercial Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellations.
NASA Deep-Space Swarm missions – a small but important market given the SBIR source of funds used help fund development. Estimate periodic buys of perhaps 50 radios per mission in 2020 and beyond, averaging to 10 per year.
DoD Geocentric Missions – DoD missions seeking ad hoc networking for massive redundancy and communications resiliency in case of disruption. For example, DARPA’s newly announced Blackjack spacecraft architecture.
Commercial LEO Missions – New emerging commercial space industry applications that require delay/disruption tolerant communications protocols and may have high latency. Blink’s own BlinkSat™ constellation for satellite IoT is one such example.