In present times, the internet has become a basic necessity. When it comes to productivity, we have no patience and want the best of internet signal and speed. Billions of people depend on the internet not only to be entertained but also, for their education. Without a doubt, the International Space Station crew needs it the most, as it has to be in constant touch with the control teams on Earth in order to keep functioning.
Also, astronauts conduct a lot of research on the ISS that they would not have been able to carry out on Earth. These experiments highly depend on data transfer between the station and researchers on our home planet.
Sending data from the ISS to Earth is not a direct process – the personnel aboard the orbital lab have to reply on a system called Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS) and ground-based antennas. The station is positioned high in the Earth’s orbit, which is why, satellites are used to transmit information to the ground and back. It does not matter where the ISS is located in relation to the Earth, the space station uses a software-based modem to contact its target destination.
However, the process is now faster than ever. Reportedly, the ISS can now support a 600 megabit-per-second (mbps) internet connection, which is twice the rate of data the station could receive and send from Earth at a time.
ZME Science reports, “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,” said George Morrow, the acting center director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, United States.
Now that the data rate has doubled, the NASA station can conduct new experiments and technology demonstrations that require higher-resolution or more detailed data than was previously possible.