Optimization of deep-space Ka-band link schedules
Downlink scheduling methods that minimize either contact time or data latency are described. For deep-space missions these two methods yield very different schedules. Optimal scheduling algorithms are straightforward for ideal mission scenarios. In practice, additional schedule requirements preclude a tractable optimal algorithm. In lieu of an optimal solution, an iterative sub-optimal algorithm is described. These methods are motivated in part by a need to balance mission risk, which increases with data latency, and mission cost, which increases with contact time. Cost is reduced by delaying downlink contacts until higher data rates are available. Previous work described optimization of individual Ka-band contacts in the presence of time-varying and statistical link parameters. The present study builds on previous work by using a downlink capacity profile to optimize the downlink schedule over the duration of a mission. The downlink schedule for the NASA mission Solar Probe Plus is used as a case study.
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Big Sky, MT, USA