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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Wideband Autonomous Cognitive Radios for Networked Satellites Communications

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

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Wideband Autonomous Cognitive Radios (WACRs) are advanced radios that have the ability to sense state of the RF spectrum and the network and self-optimize its operating mode in response to this sensed state. During the just finished Phase I STTR project, Bluecom Systems was able to develop a comprehensive design for realizing such a WACR and demonstrate the proof-of-concept operation in a hardware-in-the-loop simulation. The developed design consists of three modules: a cognitive engine, a Software-defined radio (SDR) platform and a reconfigurable RF front-end. The key module that makes the radio a WACR is the cognitive engine that acts as the brain of the system. The objective of this Phase II project is to prototype a Space Telecommunications Radio System (STRS)-compliant plug-n-play cognitive engine, called the Radiobot 1.0, that can transform any suitably designed SDR in to a WACR. During Phase II, Bluecom will build on the success of Phase I to develop a suite of algorithms that will make up the cognitive engine: Algorithms for spectrum knowledge acquisition and protocols for cognitive communications. The latter will specifically be aimed at networks formed by clusters of smaller satellites such as CubeSats. Next, these algorithms will be implemented on an FPGA System-on-Chip (SoC). Radiobot 1.0 prototype will be completed by developing a plug-n-play interface between the FPGA-implemented cognitive engine and any STRS-compliant SDR. WACR technology operation will be demonstrated by integrating this Radiobot 1.0 cognitive engine with suitable SDR platforms and in particular those that operate in Ka band. Beyond obvious benefits to NASA in realizing autonomous and intelligent communication networks required to exploit the full potential of networked clusters of CubeSats, Radiobot 1.0 will also find commercial applications in first-responder/emergency/public safety communications, autonomous systems and drones as well as many other military communications. More »

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