Global Lambda Integrated Facility


DRAGON Project



Jerry Sobieski, Mid-Atlantic Crossroads (MAX), United States


Japan: Kashima, National Institute of Information and Communications Technologies (NICT)
The Netherlands: JIVE; Westerbork Observatory/ASTRON
Sweden: Onsala Observatory
United Kingdom: Jodrell Bank Observatory
United States: Mid Atlantic Crossroads (MAX) GigaPoP; University of Southern California/ Information Sciences Institute; Westford Observatory/MIT Haystack; Goddard Geophysical and Atmospheric Observatory, NASA


Very-Long-Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) is a powerful technique for studying objects in the universe at ultra-high resolution and measuring earth motions with ultra-high accuracy. VLBI allows images of distant radio sources to be made with resolutions of tens of micro-arcseconds, far better than any optical telescope. It also provides a stable inertial reference frame formed by distant quasars to study the motions of the Earth in space with exquisite precision, revealing much information about both surface and internal motions of the Earth system, including interactions with the dynamic motions of the atmosphere and oceans.

VLBI combines data simultaneously acquired from a global array of up to ~20 radio telescopes to create a single coherent instrument. Traditionally, VLBI data are collected at data rates close to ~1 Gbps on magnetic tapes or disks that are shipped to a central site for correlation processing. Now, optical connections dynamically managed using the DRAGON (Dynamic Resource Allocation via GMPLS Optical Networks) control plane and the Internet2 HOPI network enable real-time electronic VLBI (e-VLBI) data correlation from telescopes in USA, Sweden, Netherlands, UK and Japan. The e-VLBI application specific topology can be scheduled in advance, provisioned in seconds, and provide guaranteed end-to-end QoS.

DRAGON Project