A grand frustration with people today is how good the internet is in their country or city. This is in terms of signal and plain speed. It has become an important tool nowadays and it is on the way to becoming a basic need. Many billions of people rely on the internet for getting their entertainment and education.
But productivity is also a key use of the internet. So, if you desperately need it in your office to get the job done, imagine how bad astronauts on the International Space Station need it. Not only does the ISS need to communicate with ground control teams but the station is now starting to coordinate missions to the Moon, Mars, and even to deep space.
The standard of internet quality
NASA has upgraded the internet on the ISS because it has become a hub for various missions, both sponsored by government agencies as well as commercial entities. The new internet connection will have ISS personnel send and receive information at a speed of 600 MBS. NASA has said that this is double the speed that the station previously had.
This is about the speed that select countries in the world are enjoying at the moment. Internet speed has nothing to do with a country’s economy, as the US and the UK are no way near that speed for most people. It is just a matter of building the infrastructure and that depends on the interests of a country’s administration and the size of the country as well.
How the ISS communicates
The ISS does not communicate with Mission Control centers directly. Instead, personnel rely on ground-based antennas, as well as data relay satellites. Due to the station’s positioning in high orbit, the satellites are used to transmit information to the ground and back, no matter where the ISS is located in relation to the target destination.
The space station used a software-based modem that has seen recent upgrades. The ground stations were also upgraded with new CPUs and software to enable a quick link with the ISS. While the upgrades took place, the communication network managed to coordinate 40 missions in orbit and deep space.