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Communications

Innovative research and engineering in advanced communications technologies, architecture definition, and systems development supporting current and future NASA aerospace missions.

Advanced RF Technologies

NASA’s Glenn Research Center is the recognized Center of Excellence in Advanced RF Technologies for the Agency.   Our focus areas include research, technology development, and characterization of antennas, RF components, and systems in support of NASA’s space and aeronautics communications applications.  Primary activities include:

  • Development of novel antenna technologies and calibration techniques for advanced phased arrays, conformal antennas, wideband antennas, and antennas for harsh environments

For more information contact Dr. James A. Nessel 


Communication Systems Development & Analysis

Our work includes research, development, and engineering to define, assess, and develop advanced systems and concepts for space exploration and aeronautics.

We assess system performance and operations of communications system architectures and technologies using system trade studies, theoretical mathematical derivations, and modeling and simulation of complex behaviors or operations to meet stakeholder expectations and technical requirements.

We develop concept definition, requirements, verification, and validations, ground based system emulation, and flight systems.

Using a wide variety of modeling and simulation techniques and tools, we perform trade studies, risk assessments, and analytical simulations of communications and navigation system architectures to assess system performance for near-Earth, Lunar, planetary, and aeronautic applications.

Working with the NASA Spectrum Management Office, we provide communications and analysis expertise for interference analysis of current and future NASA systems with existing and emerging domestic and international commercial space and terrestrial systems.

For more information, contact Richard C. Reinhart


Network Architectures, Protocols and Security

Our team conducts communications network research and preliminary concept studies by defining needs, feasibility, requirements, and functional system definitions.

We are also researching and developing advanced communications network architectures, protocols, national and international technology and security standards, and developing technology and network-based applications.

Network research in this context includes the development of network components, and the design of network layers, systems architectures and testbeds to benchmark and evaluate networking protocols and security.

Emphasis is on secure wireless mobility, protocol characterization and development, component development, requirements definition, standards, flight software and hardware component assessment.

We are working with groups and standards bodies across NASA and other federal agencies, including Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS), Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

We are also responsible for the development and evaluation of flight and ground communications systems including the integration, test and demonstration of subsystems.

Our primary competencies include: network level analyses, developing network design requirements, developing network architectures, conducting trade studies and simulations, and integration, test and verification of communication networks and systems.

For more information, contact Robert E. Jones


Optical & Quantum Communications

Our multidisciplinary research and development in optical communications is focusing on the generation, manipulation, transmission and detection of light for the purposes of communication and remote sensing applications.

Our modeling, simulation, prototyping and evaluation of components and systems are advancing the next generation of optical technologies.

In addition, our team includes an interdisciplinary group supporting NASA’s quantum networking research and development in Quantum Communications.

Focus areas include; quantum communications technology development, metrology, and testbeds for the connection of quantum processors, sensors and enhanced communication capabilities

For more information, contact Margaret Nazario


Signal Processing & Cognitive Communications

Our research supports technology development and engineering of cognitive signal processing methods and approaches, with a focus on cognitive and spectrum efficient communications for

NASA’s space and aeronautical applications.

We focus on: software-defined and cognitive radios; waveform development; artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms for communications; position, navigation and timing methods. We’re working on spectrum and power efficient coding and modulation techniques; and field programmable gate array (FPGA) reconfigurable devices to enable cognitive AI/ML algorithms.

We develop and maintain open architectures for space-based software defined radios (Space Telecommunications Radio System – STRS) and platform-independent portable waveforms. We test and evaluate digital communication methods for mobile, multi-user links, and perform engineering technology assessment.

Our expertise provides proof-of-concept fabrication and experimental ground and/or flight testing.

For more information, contact Gene Fujikawa


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