The International Space Station gets a higher internet speed than an average Dutch household. In the space station that flies 400 kilometers above the earth, astronauts will soon be able to download and surf at 600 Mbit / s.
The internet speed in the ISS has doubled with the speed increase. For comparison: in 2019 the average speed of Dutch fiber is 100.05 Mbit /s. The space station connects to the earth via radio signals. This is done via a combination of satellites called the Tracking and Data Relay Satellites, and ground antennas. Together they form the Space Network .
The network is used to send messages to and from the space station and other satellites. The TDRS satellites are in a geosynchronous orbit at 35,000 kilometers. They send the signals to the ground station that is closest at that moment. From there, the radio signal is converted to a message, and sent via land lines to, for example, mission control . According to NASA, communication has less than a second delay.
NASA has now upgraded both the ground stations and the space station itself. The ground stations have received better processors, new routers and interfaces, and ‘other equipment and software’. The soft modems have been replaced in the ISS. The physical cables between the various ground stations have also been replaced in certain places.
NASA says a fast connection demonstrates “the dedication to high-quality reconnaissance missions.” The improvement is also a preparation for the proposed Lunar Gateway mission. That space station must fly around the moon. For that mission it is also necessary that more data can be processed, reports the space agency.