The International Space Station (ISS) just got its Space Network upgraded, effectively doubling the rate at which data can be sent back to Earth, which means faster transmission of scientific information between the station and researchers on the ground. Astronauts can now make use of the new 600 megabits per second (Mbps) connection for scientific research and technological demonstrations. Read more for a video and additional information.
This means we can expect even higher resolution images and videos, in addition to vital data. How does internet work aboard the ISS? Well, the station sends data to earth using radio frequency signals with a system of data relay satellites in high orbit that are detected by ground-based antennas of the Space Network. This data is then sent from the antennas with a landline to NASA centers across the country, where the radio signal is decoded into usable data.
“NASA’s communications networks play a pivotal role in every NASA mission, enabling data from human spaceflight, space and earth science research missions, and technological demonstrations to reach earth for the benefit of humanity. This increase in data rate capability for the International Space Station underlines our commitment to provide high-quality operational services for NASA exploration missions today and in the future,” said George Morrow, the acting center director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.