Faculty Advisor

Alexander M. Wyglinski

Faculty Advisor

William Michalson

Faculty Advisor

Randy Paffenroth

Faculty Advisor

Sven G. Bilen


Space-based communications systems to be employed by future artificial satellites, or spacecraft during exploration missions, can potentially benefit from software-defined radio adaptation capabilities. Multiple communication requirements could potentially compete for radio resources, whose availability of which may vary during the spacecraft's operational life span. Electronic components are prone to failure, and new instructions will eventually be received through software updates. Consequently, these changes may require a whole new set of near-optimal combination of parameters to be derived on-the-fly without instantaneous human interaction or even without a human in-the-loop. Thus, achieving a sufficiently set of radio parameters can be challenging, especially when the communication channels change dynamically due to orbital dynamics as well as atmospheric and space weather-related impairments. This dissertation presents an analysis and discussion regarding novel algorithms proposed in order to enable a cognition control layer for adaptive communication systems operating in space using an architecture that merges machine learning techniques employing wireless communication principles. The proposed cognitive engine proof-of-concept reasons over time through an efficient accumulated learning process. An implementation of the conceptual design is expected to be delivered to the SDR system located on the International Space Station as part of an experimental program. To support the proposed cognitive engine algorithm development, more realistic satellite-based communications channels are proposed along with rain attenuation synthesizers for LEO orbits, channel state detection algorithms, and multipath coefficients function of the reflector's electrical characteristics. The achieved performance of the proposed solutions are compared with the state-of-the-art, and novel performance benchmarks are provided for future research to reference.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Electrical & Computer Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





cognitive radio, satellite communications, machine learning