Multipoint observations enabled satellite constellation missions are the next step towards advanced space based scientific observational capabilities. There is a need for the use of cognitive communication system in such systems as well as future NASA satellite missions in order to improve resource utilization, efficiency and eliminate the risk associated with human-in-the-loop approaches. ASTRA, in partnership with Utah State University, proposes to develop the COgnitive Radio frequency Utilization by constellations of Spacecrafts (CORUS) system, that builds upon point to point cognitive communication technologies developed using the NASA Space Communication and Navigation (SCaN) testbed and extends capabilities to allow for multi-node communication and team based objective achievement.
CORUS will be of significant utility to NASA given the growing trend of constellation based scientific satellite missions along with deep space missions that cannot utilize a human-in-the-loop approach. The overarching goal of this technology will be to improve radio resource allocation and utilization efficiency, and facilitate autonomous, intelligent adjustment of communication link parameters to maximize the return of scientific data from missions.
It is expected that both government (e.g. USAF, NOAA) and commercial entities (e.g. Planet Labs) that currently use satellite constellations for various observational capabilities will benefit from the development of CORUS.