Time Distribution (Space Network)
Time distribution and synchronization in space networking are challenging due to long propagation delays, spacecraft movements, and relativistic effects, and therefore the Network Time Protocol (NTP) designed for terrestrial networks may not work properly. In this work, we consider a time distribution protocol that is based on time message exchanges similar to Network Time Protocol (NTP) but customized for the proximity space links such as the RF links between Mars orbiters and rovers. This protocol is called the Proximity-1 Space Link Interleaved Time Synchronization (PITS) protocol and is designed with goal of integrating with the CCSDS Proximity-1 Space Data Link Protocol’s existing time capture capability. The PITS algorithm provides faster time synchronization via two-way time transfer over proximity links, improves scalability as the number of spacecraft increase, lowers storage space requirement for collecting time samples, and is robust against packet loss and misordering which underlying protocol mechanisms provide. The paper AIAA 2010-2360 describes the current progress of implementing and validating the correctness of the PITS algorithm at JPL, using the Mars Proximity link communications scenarios as our baseline.

Tracking Improvement
The Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) is an ESA project, as a European contribution to the International Space Station programme. This 20 ton cargo ship has been designed to supply the ISS. The ATV’s way to the ISS is long and complex. The purpose of the paper AIAA 210-2213 is to present the Ariane 5 V181 telemetry network, including the radar network and its improvments for the first ATV flight. This paper also presents the real-time operations and the coordination of the ATV launch.

One of the the 2010 "best papers" AIAA 2010-2223 describes how LCROSS prepared its flight team by deeply involving its operators in spacecraft and ground system design, implementation and test; leveraging collaborations with strategic partners; and conducting a spiral test and rehearsal program synchronized with the ground-up development of the ground system and spacecraft. Another "best paper" (AIAA-2012-1275405) introduces gaming principles to enhance computer-based self study of operations in long-duration missions.
The SpaceOps2012 selected "best paper", "The ISS: A Unique In-Space Testbed as Exploration Analog" (AIAA-2012-1274874) proposes a ISS Testbed for Analog Research (ISTAR) by using the ISS to evaluate new exploration technologies, capabilites and operational concepts to better comprehend and mitigate human spaceflight risks - with real astronauts "in the loop".
Another SpaceOps2012 "best paper" focuses on "Multi-Mission Operator Training Practices" (AIAA-2012-1275361) combining the need for professional hires with an educational program for undergraduate students to be trained as certified command controllers.

Telemetry Compression
The "best topic paper": "Ten Times more information in your Real-Time TM" (AIAA-2012-1275117) describes an ESA method for compressing packets in real- time, i.e., each individual packet is compressed into an equivalent smaller packet as soon as it is generated, This opens up the possibility of increasing the information content of both the playback and real-time telemetry streams with a unique process at generation time significantly.