Friday, April 22, 2022

IPN DTN New node in development

 One of the segments I have on my IPN DTN Lab prototype includes various simulated devices that are on the Moon Surface.

On the left I have a Raspberry Pi Zero W2 running RaspiOS and JPL's ION 4.1.1, and it is connected to the module on top of the breadboard that is a low power LoRa transceiver, for now sending simple text messages to the DSN node via LoRA.

So for more fun I started searching what is out there that I can use as a nicer Lunar Base? I started from scratch some ideas until I stumbled on this Lego kit.

I'm not much interested in the "toyish" parts, and I will need some extra space on the base to put the Raspberry Pi, Power Supply, LoRa, may be some lights, so how I can mod this ?

I downloaded this great tool for Lego design, Studio 2.0 from bricklink. This program is sort of a CAD tool to create designs with Lego blocks, not only you have a very nice GUI, you can also generate parts list, building instructions, render an animated video and get a list of parts with prices !!

It does not take much time to learn how to navigate and put together a project, I also found that you can import the parts list from the original Lego set, which are the parts you see spread out on the building plate. Just the four translucid cupola parts are missing.

So following the build instructions from the original kit, I started putting together the main piece for the Lunar Base, which is the one I want to modify and build.

Here is where I'm in the process, there are still some changes I want to do but getting very close to a preliminary version. Using this tool is great because I can get measurements and see where to fit other elements like the Raspberry Pi and change the model as needed without have to put any real Lego blocks together.

Hopefully on my next article about this I'll show the final product in action, including blinking lights !!


Tuesday, April 12, 2022

IPNSIG and Blog updates

The past few weeks since my previous post have been very busy with no much time left to write, but great progress in several fronts.

You will notice that this post and further post are now on a dedicated website for Interplanetary Networking (IPN,) so I can separate personal posts from those related to IPN, Delay and Disruption Tolerant Networking technologies and Space Communications in general. This will be the last article posted on both Blogs.

First the Good News, the InterPlanetary Networking Special Interest Group or IPNSIG has received its classification as a tax-exempt, non-profit charitable organization from the US Internal Revenue Services. This is an important milestone since it helps to complete the transition of our group to an independent Chapter of the Internet Society.

Great things to come in the near future about this.

On March 22nd, our group participated in the IETF 113 Conference (Internet Engineering Task Force) at the Delay Tolerant Networking Working Group (DTN-WG,) Vint Cerf was in attendance and provided an update on the State of the Art of DTN and IPNSIG.

Click on the image to watch a video of the session. Vint's presentation is the first one.

IETF 113 DTN-WG Session

Also on April 1st we had another meeting of our IPNSIG Projects Working Group, were Vint Cerf was also in attendance, as well as group members from Europe, North and South America.

While today is a modest and small group we keep making progress and adding new members on the team. We keep very focused on developing tools and best practices to keep testing DTN and Bundle Protocols, figure how to scale to a large network and explore what type of applications will serve as a demonstration of these technologies with primary focus on interplanetary communications that will drive on the long term the development and implementation of a Solar System Internet.

On the personal front I continue to work in my low cost prototype lab for testing and education using off the shelf hardware and the NASA JPL Open Source implementation of DTN and Bundle Protocol called ION (Interplanetary Overlay Network.)

Right now the network has about 15 nodes running on various SBCs, VMs and dedicated servers, plus 10 nodes using ESP32 based SBCs for sensor data collection, telemetry, etc.

While the hardware has been stable, some particular nodes changed with the addition of more displays, like the one serving as Mission Control Functions emulation.

Soon I will start putting together a draft for a PCB layout for various of the nodes which will permit the lab to scale more with increased reliability.

Four of the nodes on my internal network are now in a full mesh configuration with external nodes part of the IPNSIG Test Network. For now testing with regular Bundle Protocol Pings or bping, but soon we will start testing other tools like Asynchronous Message Service, file transfers using CFDP (CCSDS File Delivery Protocol,) etc.

That's all for now, if you are interested to join our efforts feel free to contact me, also feel free to join the Facebook InterPlanetary Networking Group.