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COHESAT: Cognitive Cohesive Networks of Distributed Units for Active and Passive Space Applications

Funding source: National Research Fund, Luxembourg
Partners: Nanosat Lab, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), SES TechCom, Betzdorf, Luxembourg
Principal investigator: Dr. Juan Merlano-Duncan
Local Scientific Advisors: Prof. Bjorn Ottersten, Dr. Symeon Chatzinotas
Scientific Mentor: Prof. Adriano Camps, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Nanosat Lab, UPC)
Researchers: Dr. Sina Maleki, Dr. Nicolò Mazzali
Duration: 03/2018 - 03/2021

About the project

The IoT (Internet of Things) and MoM (Machine-to-Machine communications) era will place a high demand on communications and earth observation. Arrays of small satellites (e.g. Orbcomm, ClydeSpace), rather than single large platforms, are expected to provide a solution to this increased demand. Examples include the projects OneWeb, Leosat and SpaceX, which plan micro -satellite chain production in order to deploy mega constellations that expect to include thousands of satellites. Another slightly different approach to the mega constellations, is the use of satellite swarms in close formation, which synthetise a big virtual radio aperture from the antennas of the multiple distributed units.

COHESAT proposes and studies the use of multi-band bidirectional inter-satellite coordination links used for the coordination of distributed beamforming operations. These links are designed using microwave/RF techniques, advanced data processing, statistical estimation and active learning. The proposed coordination schemes are studied analytically and validated experimentally by means of software defined radio techniques.

The proposed architecture will provide dynamically the accurate navigation (inter-satellite distance) and synchronisation required for the implementation of cohesive constellations. The term cohesive implies that the whole close-formation constellation synthesises as a single entity with an antenna of immense dimensions. This will open the possibility of exiting, previously unconsidered applications, such as high-resolution microwave radiometry, for the observation of the earth and also above the earth for the detection of asteroids or other astronomy applications. As well, in the field of communications, it can be applied in interference localisation and mitigation techniques, and in the implementation of ubiquitous low latency Internet connections with global coverture, in which the hand-over procedures are replaced by a gradual change in the weighting of a distributed beamforming process.


Project Partners

  • SIGCOM, SnT, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  • Nanosat Lab, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC)
  • SES TechCom, Betzdorf, Luxembourg

Funding Details

  • Funding Source: National Research Fund, Luxembourg
  • Project start date: March 2018
  • Expected End date: March 2021

Structure and Work Packages:

  • WP1: State-of-the-Art in Distributed Coherent Systems, Satellite Swarms, and their Coordination Strategies
  • WP2: Absolute Carrier Phase Synchronisation between Two Mobile Nodes.
  • WP3: Microwave Sub-wavelength Distance Measurement and Baseline Determination between Two Mobile Nodes.
  • WP4: Distributed Transmit Beamforming for Communications (DTBF).
  • WP5: Experimentation and Planning for Nanosatellite Deployment by SnT.
  • WP6: Project Management, Dissemination and Commercial Exploitation.

Relevant links


Dr. Juan Merlano-Duncan