Orbit Trajectory and DLT Communications Architectures for Deep Space Networks

7 min readNov 8, 2018
The Spacebit Architecture for Space Communications Protocol Integration with Mission Toolkit

We took our first steps into space exploration over 60 years ago with the launch of Sputnik in 1957. Then followed the venture of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space in 1961, and the steps of Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon in 1969.

We have been preparing for that future ever since, making great strides in the last decade. Advances in rocket propulsion technology, drastic decreases in costs, and major developments in the field of satellite communications and capabilities have pushed us closer to that dream.

Commercial Space Adoption is Now

The need for Space Internet of Things (SIoT) becomes apparent when envisioning last-mile delivery solutions and the upcoming explosion in satellite projects and SIoT devices in the form of microsatellites, CubeSats, and devices for Earth-Moon system exploration and lunar relay communications. As seen with the 200M acquisition of Planetary Resources by Consensys, the creation of the first tokenized VC fund for space with Spacebit Capital, the first blockchain node in space by QTUM, the development of decentralised ground station scheduling by Spacebit using DLT, diving deeper into space exploration is rapidly becoming a reality. Beyond blockchain, commercial space companies can also bring the functionalities of the Tangle into Space with IOTA, from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellites, to the exploration of the Earth-Moon system. We are currently hard at work bringing the functionality of the Tangle to its intended state, and along with a large number of corporations and international organisations, we see SIoT as a fast-growing area of research and development where lightweight distributed ledger technologies can help overcome many of the limitations of current systems. To explore space is to explore something without borders, without sectionalized ownership, and that presents the perfect environment for true collaboration. It presents an environment where open-source and the cooperation should remain a priority, where parties can work together for the interest of enabling connection and collaboration on earth, as well as everything that lies beyond. Downstream software for satellite data transmission and SIoT networks for space vehicles as well as Artificial intelligence and outsourced heavy computing will have specific space-related applications for the organizations working toward space exploration and colonization.

Spacebit Orbit Architectures and Decentralized Ground Stations will connect using DLT applications for SIoT.

Sensors and Data for Space Missions

Spacebit will implement a secure protocol for IoT networks of sensors and various connected devices which will allow for the capabilities of remote sensing large amounts of untampered data. This unprecedented secure flow of digital bits (& trits) could be collected and entangled from satellites for Space communications but also for being sent back to terrestrial networks for research and development purposes. We invite collaborations for co-creating capabilities beyond proof of concept demonstrations to integrate DLT with ongoing space operations and missions. Currently there are countless use cases that are already being researched and considered for the future of DLT in space. Some of which are collision detection and monitoring systems embedded in different satellite networks, helping to maintain a fast responding, rapid interaction capability between current and future satellite implementations. The establishment of mesh connection mechanisms for use in automated planetary rover systems used for scouting and development opportunities. Interplanetary secure communications enhancements for storing and disseminating information between future exploration efforts, mining feedback, and sensor integrations in multiple capacities.

We are working on releasing more details regarding the deep space RF telecommunications architectures which can utilize DLT and provide applications beyond the contents of this blog post for which there are real adoption drivers and use case interest throughout academia, industry, and government.

DLT for SIoT

From constellations of satellites, to IoT networks of multiple space vehicles, there is a constantly growing expansion of data transmission, with ever-increasing requirements for scalability and security in the context of a distributed ledger technology for immutability and decentralization. SIoT will be an integral part of the economy of things associated with the machine-to-machine economy that will unfold over trillions of devices in the coming decades and ensuring that these networks are immutable and decentralized with DLT is a focus of Spacebit.

Private channel interoperability with centralized systems is possible in the context of these immutable decentralized systems, as well ensuring that internet protocol encryptors and IoT protocol encryptors can provide further hardware security and telecommunications integrity beyond standard IT systems or other blockchain networks and distributed ledger technologies which not only lack post-quantum-security, but do not have private channel interoperability.

Satellite Communications with the Moon will be more commonplace in the coming years.

Orbit Architectures for Deep Space Networks with Geometric Energy Corporation

Spacebit will assist, jointly with Geometric Energy Corporation, in determining orbit trajectories for vehicles and communication relay stations around the earth, moon, and mars. Spacebit and Geometric Energy have the technical know-how and access to computational models to perform analytical generation of lissajous and halo orbits, numerical generation of galo orbits, differential correction of lissajous and quasi-periodic orbits, periodic orbit searches, computations of stable/unstable invariant manifolds, stationkeeping maneuver budget analysis, generation of lunar frozen orbits, efficient orbit propagation, JPL DE403/405 ephemeris interpolation, and autonomous orbit determination using crosslinks.

Spacebit and Geometric Energy will assist in the design architecture of an intelligent and expandable RF network. Two-way communication between nodes will utilize a combination of Ka-band and X-band uplink/downlink streams using established best practices, such as spectral-efficient technologies, low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes, turbo-codes (with an outer cyclic redundancy check code), and Reed-Solomon codes. Nodes will be expandable using an internet-of-things (IoT) architecture to include various probes that will facilitate optimal communication parameters. For example, atmospheric probes can be deployed to planets in order to study & improve atmospheric modelling in order to determine ideal frequency bands to address RF propagation effects in different atmospheres at different times. Establishing an IoT probe network for each node will allow for predictive analytics that will serve the current RF architecture, and will facilitate the expansion of the network to more distant reaches of the solar system by determining atmospheric propagation effects in order to allocate frequency bands.

Furthermore, the location of the system of nodes is optimized for star-shaped domain relays in the ecliptic and to ensure that there are data reliability and no downtime in communication between nodes with larger data transmission rates through innovative applications of spherical codes and packings of spherical caps to error correcting codes and minimal computationally intensive algorithmic execution with mixed binary GPU computing infrastructure for faster and more expanded communication channels. Our team has world-class expertise in higher dimensional coding theory through sphere packings and minimal error correcting codes.

AI and ML Capabilities with Lemurian Labs

Spacebit, jointly with Lemurian Labs, has extensive expertise in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and data science. Our proposed architecture is a system of nodes supported by an expandable set of IoT probes which will provide data streams that will serve as platform for AI/ML applications, both in-orbit and on-planet.

We propose a method for legacy Lagrange point RF relays which are interference management and multi-channel RF relays, with NB-IoT satellite backhauling, agile Ka-band transmit filters, and compact diplexers for multiband usage. By providing permanent Lagrange point infrastructure which requires little-to-no maintenance, a modular and expandable deep space network of star-shaped domains can be developed for present purposes and future generational usage at low cost. Nevertheless, the legacy Lagrange point RF relay is a mere optional suggestion for long term mission architecture and goals in colonizing the solar system; it is certainly unnecessary for immediate purposes and launching specific telecommunications infrastructure as a rocket payload to the Lagrange points of the Earth-Moon system which are key for fast and stable communication with another planet such as Mars or other moons such as Phobos or Deimos by requiring that the boundary of that planet or moon to be the incircle of a polygon with vertices which are RF relays. The radius of the incircle is proportional to the number of sides of the polygon and a geosynchronous orbit would be ideal for an effectively permanent node fixed in orbit; or with each vertex as an RF relay which is not in a geosynchronous orbit and rotating the exposure of the star-shaped domain accessed through the Lagrange points of the Earth-Moon system. One can envisage the RF telecommunication infrastructure of a stable fast transmission solar system network linking the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, the Asteroid Belt, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and potentially dwarf planets through executing the protocol of establishing a central relay station at a Planet-Moon Lagrange point connecting with a deployable array of satellites orbiting the Planet for connecting with a deployable array of antennas at the Planet-Moon Lagrange point. In the scenario of the Sun or a Planet which does not have a moon (Mercury/Venus), no planet-moon Lagrange point occurs, and the regular polygonal spacing of a necessary number of satellites. The incircle is the boundary of the planet placed in the interior of the convex hull of the satellites. In the scenario of a planet with moon(s) — an RF relay at the planet-moon Lagrange point with a regular polygonal spacing of satellites around that moon will be necessary for no back-side-of-the-moon behaviour or loss of downlink or uplink between transmitters and receivers.

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Press Contact: Samuel Reid

Spacebit Technologies Ltd.