European Space Agency
The European Space Agency (ESA) is pursuing projects such as providing reliable Internet access on the Moon, and controlling a planetary rover from a spacecraft in deep space. Observation or navigation satellites orbiting Earth and astronauts transmitting images in real time from the International Space Station need to send data back to Earth. The complexity of sharing information across space is set to grow, and such activities will need to be interconnected, networked, and managed. "We are researching how today's technical standards for devices like mobile phones, laptops, and portable computers can be applied to a new generation of networked space hardware," says ESA's Nestor Peccia. "But our future focus goes well beyond just networking; we're looking at how agencies like ESA and [the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration] cooperate in orbit and how to interchange data in real time between different organizations' spacecraft and ground stations, as well as reliable technical standards for spacecraft navigation and flight control." In October, ESA will simulate orbiter-rover communication links at a planet like Mars.
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