PAB NASA/SPACEHAB Takes IP Networking Into Orbit + .orb domain !+ technical description

Sascha Ignjatovic (
Sun, 28 Jun 1998 04:03:06 +0200 (MET DST)


A SPACEHAB-built communications
experiment "designed to let scientists conduct
research in space by remote control," was
profiled in a June 11 article in the Chnicle of
Higher Education.

Using an operational version of the SPACEHAB
Universal Communications System, or SHUCS,
recently tested aboard the Space Shuttle
Discovery, "scientists on the ground could use
the World-Wide Web to send instructions to
orbiting instruments and retrieve data from
them," Journalist Vincent Kiernan wrote.

SHUCS, planned to be used on the
international space station, "is designed to
scientists an alternative to using the
standard communications system for controlling
experiments," the article stated.

SHUCS "has its own satellite antenna that can
be tuned to commercial communications
satellites, rather than to the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration's
communications spacecraft. SHUCS also
incorporates standard computer-network
components to which orbiting experiments can
be connected," Kiernan wrote.

"In orbit, SHUCS would be host to a
World-Wide Web site. A researcher with an
experiment on the shuttle or the space station
could use that site to pass instructions to a
scientific instrument or to download
from it. The site would use passwords to limit
access to the proper researchers, says
Michael Lounge, who is the program manager
for SHUCS at Spacehab Inc., the company that
built the device."

While tests of SHUCS were somewhat
hampered by unrelated problems with
Discovery's regular communications system,
the article states, additional test flights had
been planned even before those problems

The SPACEHAB Universal
Communications System (SHUCS) was
designed and developed as an
independent communications system to
allow real-time voice and data
transmission to and from space. SHUCS
serves as the core Research Double
Modulecommunication system to ensure
availability of payload uplink and
downlink capabilities with ground-based
laboratories. It can also be used in the
Space Shuttle mid-deck, Russian Mir
Space Station, International Space
Station, and commercial satellites


SHUCS allows secure file transfer, commanding,
up/downlink fax and voice communications globally
via three ground stations and four satellites. SHUCS
uses a standard TCP/IP file transfer protocol with a
new Internet extension of .orb. Payload interaction
during the entire mission is provided by COMSAT
Mobile Communications via the Inmarsat system of
geosynchronous satellites and ground station using
the internet navigation applications.

SHUCS Satellite Acquisition From Shuttle


Internal: 20.32" x 10' x 17.3"
External: Antenna 31" x 31" Pan/Tilt Unit,


Receiving: 124W
Transmitting: 196W

RF Frequencies:

Receive: 1525.0 - 1545.0 MHz
Transmit: 1626.5 - 1646.5 MHz

Voice Service:

Digital Voice Rate: 16 Kbs
Optional Service: Supports STU-III
Secure Voice at 9.2 Kbs

Data Service:

Digital Data Rages: 56/64 Kbs, 16 Kbs,
9.6 Kbs
Forward Error Correction Rates: 1/2, 3/4

SHUCS Satellite Coverage


DTMF Telephone, Group III Fax, RS232
Data, RS422/449, V.35 HSD 10 BaseT

For more information
Kimberly Campbell
Phone: (281) 282-2235
Fax: (281) 282-0921
1331 Gemini Avenue
Suite 34
Houston, Texas 77058