Internetworking between space segment and ground segment computers will likely include parallel stacks at the ground entry point, but these parallel stacks should provide reliable data transport with transparent protocol conversion at the lowest layers possible. Furthermore, space communications protocols have special requirements based upon limited bandwidth and many other characteristics of space segment links not in common with ground segment networks and have traditionally only been point to point. However, the emergence of constellations, optical intersatellite links, and many other developments means that the need for space segment protocols with internetworking capabilities is more likely in future small satellites. Since the need for various standardized communications protocols is likely to continue to vary greatly for future small satellite systems, the proposed next generation small satellite operations system should include a message passing API which enables the use of different protocol stacks and the integration of interprocess communications within a heterogeneous system.
Currently, most mission operations teams are physically co-located and include constant monitoring. The automation framework proposed here will allow mission operations with management by exception. In order to actually realize cost savings associated with management by exception, yet still provide a system to support complex anomaly resolution, the system must include the capability to support distributed mission operations teams. Aside from the distributed computing environment described here which underpins this overall system, the ability to incorporate resources and individuals that are widely distributed is greatly enhanced with the ability to use public networks. The problem with public networks is security. Transparent software and/or hardware based security protocols can be incorporated into the data transport associated with command and control and data distribution such that public networks can be used. Data transport sub-layer encryption tied to system service client authentication is used to provide reasonable levels of security within a public network [ 15,16].