Routing Algorithm Analysis for a Nanosatellite Constellation in Low Earth Orbit


  1. McKenzie-Picot, S.
  2. Gavigan, P.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Ottawa, Ottawa ONT (CAN)
This paper examines possible routing algorithms in a proposed network of nanosatellites with the goal of finding networking methods that could be effectively used in a dynamic environment with limited computing power. Three routing algorithms were created and their performance was compared to Dijkstra’s shortest path algorithm. The chaos method transmitted to accessible satellites at random. The minimum distance method transmitted to the closest unused satellite. The grouping method grouped satellites by their physical position in the network and made transmission decisions based on these groups. Each algorithm was run for every possible combination of source and destination satellite in the network to find average transmission times, distances, and number of network nodes used. It was found that the grouping method had performance comparable to Dijkstra’s algorithm while requiring less computing power, and was acceptable for high-speed network requirements, such as live voice. The chaos method was acceptable for lower speed applications and for satellites that had little computing power, and the minimum distance method improved on chaos method with little extra computing power required.

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Report Number
DRDC-OTTAWA-TM-2013-081 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Oct 2013
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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