Methodologies for the analysis of value from delay-tolerant inter-satellite networking

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


In a world that is becoming increasingly connected, both in the sense of people and devices, it is of no surprise that users of the data enabled by satellites are exploring the potential brought about from a more connected Earth orbit environment. Lower data latency, higher revisit rates and higher volumes of information are the order of the day, and inter-connectivity is one of the ways in which this could be achieved. Within this dissertation, three main topics are investigated and built upon. First, the process of routing data through intermittently connected delay-tolerant networks is examined and a new routing protocol introduced, called Spae. The consideration of downstream resource limitations forms the heart of this novel approach which is shown to provide improvements in data routing that closely match that of a theoretically optimal scheme. Next, the value of inter-satellite networking is derived in such a way that removes the difficult task of costing the enabling inter-satellite link technology. Instead, value is defined as the price one should be willing to pay for the technology while retaining a mission value greater than its non-networking counterpart. This is achieved through the use of multi-attribute utility theory, trade-space analysis and system modelling, and demonstrated in two case studies. Finally, the effects of uncertainty in the form of sub-system failure are considered. Inter-satellite networking is shown to increase a system's resilience to failure through introduction of additional, partially failed states, made possible by data relay. The lifetime value of a system is then captured using a semi-analytical approach exploiting Markov chains, validated with a numerical Monte Carlo simulation approach. It is evident that while inter-satellite networking may offer more value in general, it does not necessarily result in a decrease in the loss of utility over the lifetime.
Date of Award5 Jun 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsEPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council)
SupervisorMalcolm Macdonald (Supervisor) & Colin McInnes (Supervisor)

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