NASA Exploring Artificial Intelligence for Space Communications

The infusion of artificial intelligence into space communications networks, to meet demand and increase efficiency.

NASA Exploring Artificial Intelligence for Space Communications
This photo was taken of NASA's Space Communications and Navigation Testbed before launch. Currently affixed to the International Space Station, the SCaN Testbed is used to conduct a variety of experiments with the goal of further advancing other technologies, reducing risks on other space missions, and enabling future mission capabilities. Credits: NASA

NASA’s spacecraft generally depend on human-controlled radio frameworks to speak with Earth. As the accumulation of space information expands, NASA looks to cognitive radio, the infusion of artificial intelligence into space correspondences systems, to take care of demand and increment proficiency.

Janette C. Briones, principal investigator in the cognitive communication project at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio said, “Modern space communications systems use complex software to support science and exploration missions. By applying artificial intelligence and machine learning, satellites control these systems seamlessly, making real-time decisions without awaiting instruction.”

For further understanding cognitive radio, it’s least demanding to begin with ground-based applications. In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) apportions segments of the electromagnetic range utilized for correspondences to different users. For instance, the FCC designates range to cell benefit, satellite radio, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and so on. Envision the range separated into a set number of taps associated with a central conduit.

What happens when no faucets are left? How could a device access the electromagnetic spectrum when all the taps are taken?

Programmed radios like intellectual radio utilize AI to utilize underutilized bits of the electromagnetic range without human intercession. These “white spaces” are right now unused, yet effectively authorized, sections of the range. The FCC allows a subjective radio to utilize the recurrence while unused by its essential client until the point that the client winds up noticeably dynamic once more.

As far as our metaphorical watering hole, subjective radio draws on the water that would somehow be squandered. The intellectual radio can utilize numerous faucets regardless of the recurrence of that “faucet.” When an authorized gadget quits utilizing its recurrence, psychological radio draws from that client’s “faucet” until the essential client needs it once more. Subjective radio changes starting with one void area then onto the next, utilizing electromagnetic nozzles as they wind up noticeably accessible.

Briones said, “The recent development of cognitive technologies is a new thrust in the architecture of communications systems. We envision these technologies will make our communications networks more efficient and resilient for missions exploring the depths of space.”

“By integrating artificial intelligence and cognitive radios into our networks, we will increase the efficiency, autonomy, and reliability of space communications systems.”

Rigoberto Roche, a NASA cognitive engine development lead at Glenn said, “Glenn Research Center is experimenting with creating cognitive radio applications capable of identifying and adapting to space weather. They would transmit outside the range of the interference or cancel distortions within the range using machine learning.”

Scientists are now planning to further learn how this cognitive radio can shut itself down to moderate radiation harm amid extreme space climate occasions.

A cognitive radio system could likewise recommend interchange information ways to the ground. These procedures could organize and course information through numerous ways at the same time to stay away from impedance. The psychological radio’s manmade brainpower could likewise assign ground station downlinks hours ahead of time, instead of weeks, prompting more proficient planning.

Furthermore, this subjective radio may influence interchanges to organize operations more proficient by diminishing the requirement for human intercession. A shrewd radio could adjust to new electromagnetic scenes without human help and foresee normal operational settings for various situations, mechanizing tedious procedures beforehand took care of by people.

NASA Exploring Artificial Intelligence for Space Communications
The SCaN Testbed payload aboard the space station. In April 2013, it began conducting experiments after completing its checkout and commissioning operations.
Credits: NASA

The Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Testbed aboard the International Space Station provides engineers and researchers with tools to test cognitive radio in the space environment. The testbed houses three software-defined radios in addition to a variety of antennas and apparatus that can be configured from the ground or other spacecraft.

Dave Chelmins, project manager for the SCaN Testbed said, “The testbed keeps us honest about the environment in orbit. While it can be simulated on the ground, there is an element of unpredictability to space. The testbed provides this environment, a setting that requires the resiliency of technology advancements like cognitive radio.”

Likewise, with most earthly innovations, intellectual systems can be all the more difficult to execute in space because of orbital mechanics, the electromagnetic condition, and collaborations with heritage instruments. Regardless of these difficulties, coordinating machine learning into existing space correspondences foundation will expand the proficiency, self-governance, and dependability of these frameworks.