The Internet heads to outer space

A program to kick-start the use of internet communications in space has been announced by the US government.

The Department of Defense’s Iris project will put an internet router in space by the start of 2009. It will allow voice, video and data communications for US troops using standards developed for the internet. Eventually Iris could extend the net into space, allowing data to flow directly between satellites, rather than sending it via ground stations.

The specially designed equipment will be developed by network specialist Cisco while the geostationary satellite, IS-14, will be built by Intelsat. When launched in 2009 it will allow troops to communicate over the internet from the remotest regions from Europe Africa and the Americas.

“Iris is to the future of satellite-based communications what Arpanet was to the creation of the internet in the 1960s,” said Don Brown, of Intelsat General, one of the companies who will build the platform.

Arpanet (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), the predecessor of the internet, was developed by the United States Department of Defense.

Source: BBC News

Related Links: Cisco, Intelsat