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Internet Routing in Space (IRIS)

Internet Routing in Space (IRIS) (PDF)

Industry-Sponsored Hosted IP Payload in Space Represents Next-Generation Service

Intelsat General Corporation, teaming with Cisco and in collaboration with the United States Department of Defense, launched an industry-sponsored Hosted Payload- Internet Routing in Space (IRIS)-on the Intelsat IS-14 satellite. IRIS represents the next generation in telecommunication satellite services with an ability to extend Internet Routing into space.

IRIS covers Europe, Africa and the Americas from its 45º West longitude orbital slot. The IRIS payload provides the ability to merge ground and space communications infrastructure, with Internet Protocol (IP) as the primary “language,” the common frame of reference, between networks.

IRIS extends the information transport power of the Internet into space, integrating satellite systems and ground infrastructure for commercial and government users who need instant, seamless, global, broadband communications.

Unique Government / Industry Partnership

The IRIS Hosted Payload program was accepted by the U.S. Department of Defense as a Fiscal Year 2007 (FY07) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD). The demonstration examined the potential utility of augmenting joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multi-national information transport with space based IP routing and processing. The IRIS JCTD represents a new model for government and industry collaboration. This relationship will allow the United States government to examine, demonstrate and assess the utility of Intelsat’s IRIS capability and potentially transition this capability to United States forces both at home and abroad.

Flexible Routing, Connectivity and Enhanced Performance

The IS-14 IRIS payload interconnects one C-band and two Ku-band coverage areas. Its architecture and design allows for flexible IP packet (layer 3) routing, cross-band and crossbeam connectivity within and between coverage areas, and multicast distribution that can be reconfigured on demand. The decoupling of up and down communications links by the on-board processor in the IRIS payload is anticipated to provide enhanced satellite link performance and mitigation of signal degradation due to atmospheric propagation losses.

Benefits of IRIS Improved Situational Awareness

Intelsat General is aware, engaged and invested in security consistent with DoD standards for Information Assurance. Recognizing the need for operational security, Intelsat General offers a Secure Operations Center (ISOC) dedicated solely to the unique needs of our government customers. To ensure quality of service for mission-critical communications, Intelsat General provides the following:

  • Use of more common operational picture/situational awareness applications and data
  • Distributed operations
    • Function as a Net Centric Operations (NCO) ‘peer’
    • Ability to coordinate/synchronize operations with partners
    • Operations: Network operations and management, performance and security monitoring and customer service
    • Perform/function as a ‘sensor’ as part of NCO and Global Information Grid
  • Long-haul ‘reach back’ to data, information, operations centers
    • Cargo and personnel manifests
    • Biometric data
  • Collaboration
    • Networked near real time (limitation is latency of the network/internet)
    • Planning and synchronization
  • Common “unified communications” protocol
    • Current communications integrated into global protocols and standards
    • Everything over IP
  • Benefits of new satellite architecture
    • Connectivity
      • Dynamic routing
      • Efficiently provides cross-band, cross-beam connectivity
    • Capacity
      • Dynamic Bandwidth allocations
      • More efficient link budgets benefit small terminals
    • Control
      • Flexible provisioning, single locus of info in space
      • End-to-end IP service which converges with the Government’s SOA approach
    • Interoperability
      • IP technologies leverage open standards and allow faster integration