Intelligent Techniques for Reliability Prediction and Improvement of Free-Space Optics-based Future Satellite Communication Systems

   Faculty of Engineering & Digital Technologies

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  Dr Vuong Mai, Dr Cuong Dao  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Satellite communications play a pivotal role in our modern world, driving global efforts towards the development of next-generation satellite communication systems. These systems are aimed at enabling high-capacity data transmission to support a wide range of applications, including climate change mitigation, disaster prevention, IoT, and beyond 5G/6G technologies. Notably, recent endeavours by space agencies and companies, such as ESA, NASA, and SpaceX, have highlighted Free-Space Optics (FSO) as a promising technology for future satellite communication systems. FSO offers advantages such as higher data rates, enhanced security, and lighter, low-power terminals when compared to traditional satellite communication technologies [1-4].

Several challenges pose obstacles to the reliability of FSO-based future satellite communication systems. Factors, such as atmospheric attenuation and fading, optical beam alignment errors, space radiation interference, and hardware failure in harsh space environments, can have adverse effects on system performance [5, 6]. Addressing these challenges is crucial to ensure the robustness and dependability of the systems. The reliability of FSO systems has been studied in the contexts of terrestrial communications [7] and airborne communications [8]. Additionally, there have been studies investigating the reliability of satellite systems utilizing radio frequency [9]. However, there is still a lack of research specifically focused on the reliability of FSO-based satellite communication systems.

The objective of this project is to drive forward the development of future satellite communication systems by bolstering their capacity, reliability, and intelligence. A key focus will be on investigating FSO for achieving ultra-high-speed data transmissions, with the potential to reach Gigabit per second data rates, between ground stations and satellites or between satellites. Furthermore, this project aims to address the existing research gap regarding the reliability of FSO-based satellite communication systems. Specifically, the project will explore intelligent techniques that can predict and enhance the system reliability.

During the initial stage of project, a computer simulation will be developed as the primary tool for testing and validating FSO-based future satellite communication systems. This simulation will consider critical factors that impact system reliability. Additionally, long-term macro-meteorological data will be utilized as an input to simulate real-world conditions.

In the next phase, intelligent techniques will be explored to predict the system reliability. Both traditional statistical methods and AI-based approaches will be employed to achieve accurate predictions. The predictions will provide valuable insights into system performance and requirement for improvement.

Finally, the project will focus on studying intelligent techniques that can enhance the overall system reliability. This involves the development of adaptive adjustment capabilities for optical beam parameters, enabling the optimization of performance in response to changing system conditions. Additionally, intelligent routing algorithms will be investigated to dynamically manage data traffic based on system conditions, ensuring efficient and reliable communications.

The research project will take place at the Bradford-Renduchintala Centre for Space AI, which is home to a team of experts specializing in FSO, satellite communications, reliability, and AI. These knowledgeable professionals will offer valuable assistance in developing and testing predictive models and methods to enhance the reliability of FSO-based future satellite communication systems.

The project will involve utilizing methodologies related to communication channel modelling, signal processing, cross-layer design and analysis, as well as reliability modelling and analysis.


Applicants should have research experience or a strong willingness to develop knowledge and research skills in these areas. Students with a background in electrical and electronics engineering, telecommunications engineering, computer science, physics, or mathematics are particularly encouraged to apply. Applications from under-represented groups in higher education are particularly welcome.

Enquiries and how to apply

For any additional inquiries or further details, please feel free to reach out to Dr. Vuong Mai via email at [Email Address Removed]. He will be delighted to assist you.

Applications can be submitted online through the University of Bradford web site.

Computer Science (8) Engineering (12) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded PhD project; applicants will be expected to pay their own fees or have a suitable source of third-party funding. A bench fee may also apply to this project, in addition to the tuition fees. UK students may be able to apply for a Doctoral Loan from Student Finance for financial support.


[1] M. Toyoshima, “Recent trends in space laser communications for small satellites and constellations,” J. Lightw. Technol., vol. 39, no. 3, pp. 693-699, Feb. 2021.
[2] ESA, “Optical communications”, Accessed: May 26, 2023. [Online]. Available:
[3] NASA, “Laser communications”, Accessed: May 26, 2023. [Online]. Available:
[4] Starlink, “Technology”, Accessed: May 26, 2023. [Online]. Available:
[5] H. Kaushal and G. Kaddoum, “Optical communication in space: challenges and mitigation techniques,” IEEE Commun. Surv. Tut., vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 57-96, Jan. 2017.
[6] K. Lee, V. Mai, and H. Kim, “Dynamic adaptive beam control system using variable focus lenses for laser inter-satellite link,” IEEE Photon. J., vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 1-8, Aug. 2022.
[7] V. Mai and H. Kim, “Link availability of terrestrial free-space optical communication systems in Korea estimated by using macro-meteorological data,” in Proc. OECC, 2018, p. 5D1-4.
[8] V. Mai and H. Kim, “Link availability of airborne free-space optical communication systems under effect of generalized misalignment,” in Proc. OECC, 2018, p. 5D1-6.
[9] S. Jung and J. Choi, “End-to-end reliability of satellite communication network systems,” IEEE Syst. J., vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 791-801, Mar. 2021.

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