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Development of Information Assurance Protocol for Low Bandwidth Nanosatellite Communications

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Naval Postgraduate School United States

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Nanosatellites provide a light, efficient, and cost-effective way for research institutions to carry out experiments in low Earth orbit. These satellites frequently use the ultra-high and very high frequency bands to transfer their data to the ground stations, and oftentimes will use internet protocol and Transmission Control Protocol as a standard for communication to ensure the arrival and integrity of the data transmitted. Due to bandwidth limitations and signal noise, these connection-based protocols end up accruing a large data bandwidth cost in headers and retransmissions. Furthermore, due to connection unreliability, encryption and integrity checks present a challenge. The aim of this thesis is to develop a software-based low-bandwidth reliable network protocol that can support a cryptographic system for encrypted communications using commercial off-the-shelf components. This protocol reduces the data overhead, retains the retransmission functionality and integrates support for a cryptographic system. This thesis develops the encryption mechanism, assesses its resilience to error propagation, and develops the protocol to work over a simulated network. The result of the study is a proof of concept that the protocol design is feasible, applicable, and could be used as a communication standard in future projects.

Subject Categories:

  • Radio Communications

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