Briefs: Shuttle IP success

Despite the space shuttle Columbia's tragic ending, at least one experiment from that mission proved successful. Tests had already been completed on the use of mobile Internet protocol in space, according to project managers.

On board the shuttle was an embedded PC module holding a 233-megahertz processor with 128 megabytes of random access memory and a solid-state, 144-megabyte hard-drive disk. Through an experimental low-power transceiver and S- and L-band antennas, the computer was connected to the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., via NASA satellites or ground stations. Using this configuration, the team executed remote commands and transmitted files to and from the shuttle. The setup was not used in the primary communications of the craft.

NASA is looking at commercial solutions to cut costs, and this experiment showed how a standard mobile IP implementation could be used for future space communications.

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