NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Cognitive Communications for NASA Space SystemsThe growing complexity of spacecraft constellations, communication relay offerings, and mission architectures drives the need for the development of autonomous communication systems. NASA has traditionally launched single spacecraft missions that are served by the Space Communication and Navigation (SCaN) program. Operations on SCaN networks are typically scheduled weeks in advance, and often each asset serves a single user spacecraft at a time. Recent movement towards swarm missions could make the current approach unsustainable. Additionally, the integration of commercial communication service providers will substantially increase the data transfer options available to new missions. NASA science missions have found benefit in launching swarms of spacecraft, allowing coordinated simultaneous observations from different perspectives. Inter-spacecraft communication (mesh networking) is an enabler for this architecture, as are CubeSats that allow cost-effective provisioning of distributed mission assets. As more complex swarm missions launch, one challenge is coordinating communication within the swarm and choosing the appropriate mechanism for telemetry, tracking, control, and data services to and from Earth. Cognitive communications research conducted by SCaN aims to mitigate the increasing communication complexity for mission users by increasing the autonomy of links, networks, and service scheduling. By considering automation techniques including recent advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning, cognitive algorithms and related approaches enable increased mission science return, improved resource utilization for service provider networks, and resiliency in unpredictable or unplanned environments. The Cognitive Communications Project at the NASA Glenn Research Center develops applications of data-driven, non-deterministic methods to improve the autonomy of space communication. The project emphasizes development of decentralized space networks with artificial intelligence agents optimizing communication link throughput, data routing, and system-wide asset management. This paper discusses the objectives, approaches, and opportunities of the research to address growing needs of the space communications community.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Chelmins, David
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Briones, Janette
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Downey, Joseph
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Clark, Gilbert
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Gannon, Adam
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
November 12, 2019
Publication Date
October 29, 2019
Subject Category
Space Communications, Spacecraft Communications, Command And Tracking
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
International Communications Satellite Systems Conference (ICSSC)(Okinawa)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: 553323.01.01.01
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
Technical Review
NASA Technical Management
No Preview Available