Internet of Space: Networking Architectures and Protocols to Support Space-Based Internet Services

Submission Deadline:  31 January 2022

IEEE Access invites manuscript submissions in the area of Internet of Space: Networking Architectures and Protocols to Support Space-Based Internet Services.   

This Special Section is focused on the most recent scientific research and insights on the evolution of communication architectures and protocols for an Internet of Space, able to boost the creation of a truly global Internet by means of the integration of the current Internet with a new Internet of Space. Such evolution is expected to have a significant impact on several markets such as IoT/Industrial IoT, Mobile services, Industry 4.0, Government enterprise, and Connected mobility.

The section shall cover work focused on aspects such as how to support the operation of Tier-1, Tier-2 or even Tier-3 airborne/spaceborne networks; how to address interoperability, within and across different protocol layers in the network architecture, leveraging cross-layer design; and finally how to design a more unified next generation Internet architecture able to transparently include spaceborne and airborne platforms in a way that allows for user-centric services, and a smooth operation of transient networks.

However, an original and competent Internet of Space, calls for the definition of a networking framework able to accommodate specific properties of dynamic systems, including heterogeneous physical layers, frequent changes in network topology, high propagation delays, and intermittent connectivity. The dominant success factor for such a networking framework is low-cost bandwidth, although its capability to support low latency and high-throughput services plays an important role.

Secondly, a global Internet is only possible with a transparent integration of an Internet of Space with the current Internet, while supporting multi-tenants, multi-systems in different orbits and altitudes, as well as multiple markets. Such an integration requires rethinking the Internet architecture in order to extend its operation to all systems above the Earth’s surface, which requires the integration of heterogeneous communication devices and protocols. Such a unifying networking framework will have a truly global reach, allowing the connection between information producers and consumers in any corner of Earth and Space. Last but not least, the seamless integration of an Internet of Space with the current Internet will lead to a global empowerment, providing information access to everyone who may need it to sustain enriched human life, while mitigating some of the major limitations of a network infrastructure that is built on Earth’s surface, which is subjected not only to geographic limits but also to political limits.

From a technical perspective this Special Section is focused on the design and performance evaluation of networking architectures and protocols for the Internet of Space, as well as on a more unified design that best deals with the networking challenges to be faced. 

The topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Network architectures, able to support multi-tenants, multi-systems in different orbits and altitudes, as well as multiple markets, while being transparently integrated in the current Internet architecture. Such new, unifying, network architecture may require the exploitation of paradigms such as Delay Tolerant Networking (DTN), and Information Centric Networking (ICN).
  • Network virtualization, leveraging well-known technologies such as Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV), as well as their integration with the emerging concept of Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC), allowing the virtualization of networking, storage and computing fabrics at the edge, required for the offloading of tasks that have latency constraints from the core to the edge.
  • Decentralized Internet Infrastructure, allowing a scalable Internetworking between computing processes and service hosted at the network edge (including flying platforms and spaceborne platforms, such as smart satellite constellations), leading to an end-to-end latency reduction due to user proximity, as well as a reduction of network traffic through traffic localization and device-to-device communications.
  • Network management, such as support for the global orchestration of network functions on board  spaceborne platforms (e.g., satellites) to best support data processing and aggregation; seamless interoperation of mobile Edge infrastructure and devices; resilience and seamless adaptation based on the capability to anticipate the behavior of services on a global scale.
  • Cognitive networking, in which programmable spaceborne networks allow networked devices to perform customized computation, including the usage of Artificial Intelligence. Such cognitive functions will be exploited to develop more intelligent, adaptive networks, able to perceive network conditions, decide upon those conditions, and learn from the consequences of its actions.
  • Networking protocols, including support for inter-satellite communications, and satellite to ground communications, Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Experience (QoE), integrated security, and mobility, and their integration with existing protocols such as IP routing (e.g. segment routing), transport protocols from the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) to Quick UDP Internet Connections (QUIC), and application protocols such as Domain Name Service (DNS).
  • Wireless technologies, including not only the usage of radio frequency systems but also free space optical systems, and a combination of both.
  • Network measurement & performance, to assist in understanding and exposing the performance of spaceborne networking resources, infrastructure, and available communication protocols in a variety of ground-to-space, inter-satellite communication scenarios.
  • Privacy, security and trustworthiness, assuming end-to-end scenarios involving satellites with computational and storage capabilities, and covering aspects such as data security, decentralized trust architectures.
  • Impact on Internet services, such as advanced IoT services (e.g., Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality in manufacturing or farming) served by spaceborne platforms and spaceborne communications; real-time IoT applications (e.g., critical monitoring of public infrastructures); awareness services (e.g., public safety services).
  • Impact on data management aspects, including the support of the next generation of Edge computing in space, as well as a fast cooperation between a large set of Edge-based producers of data.

We also highly recommend the submission of multimedia with each article as it significantly increases the visibility and downloads of articles.


Associate Editor: Rute C. Sofia, fortiss GmbH, Germany

Guest Editors:

    1. Paulo Mendes, Airbus, Germany
    2. Vassilis Tsaoussidis, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece
    3. Tomaso de Cola, DLR, Germany
    4. Scott Burleigh, California Institute of Technology, USA
    5. Mianxiong Dong, Muroran Institute of Technology, Japan
    6. Eduardo Cerqueira, University Federal of Pará, Brazil

Relevant IEEE Access Special Sections:

    1. Networks of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Wireless Communications, Applications, Control and Modelling
    2. Communications in Harsh Environments
    3. Edge Intelligence for Internet of Things


IEEE Access Editor-in-Chief:  Prof. Derek Abbott, University of Adelaide

Article submission: Contact Associate Editor and submit manuscript to:

 For inquiries regarding this Special Section, please contact: