Astrapi Corporation awarded a United States Air Force (USAF) Agility Prime Phase I STTR

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Astrapi Selected with Teaming Partner Morgan State University for “Advanced RF using Spiral Modulation” project.

“We have been involved with AFWERX since its beginning and are quite excited by this opportunity to meet high-performance communication requirements for advanced air mobility vehicles. This funding will help transition critical new capabilities to Warfighters.” - Jerrold Prothero, Ph.D., Astrapi CEO

The United States Air Force has awarded Astrapi Corporation a Phase I STTR contract for “Advanced RF using Spiral Modulation” through the new AFWERX Agility Prime program. RF communication links have multiple impacts on air mobility vehicle capabilities – stronger links support a wider area of operations, lower power requirements can reduce weight and increase mission time, and higher data throughput permits the use of higher-resolution sensing devices.

Astrapi’s Spiral Modulation communications technology provides an innovative, structured way to dramatically improve the utilization of the electromagnetic spectrum for telecommunications. The additional capabilities address key problems in contested environments faced by the USAF such as Low Probability of Interception and Detection (LPI/LPD) and anti-jamming of signals, as well as providing additional data throughput enabling high-definition Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. Lower required signal power also enables reduced Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) requirements for both manned and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Spiral Modulation is a breakthrough technology that for the first time is capable of pushing spectral efficiency to unprecedentedly high levels by fully exploiting the capabilities provided by the use of a continuously non-stationary spectrum. Classical channel capacity theory, the foundation of all current communications technologies, implicitly assumed the spectrum that was used was at least approximately stationary – meaning constant power was placed into each frequency used – leading to a sharp unbreakable upper bound on communication performance. By deliberately side-stepping this constraint, however, Astrapi has shown, with independent external validation, a 2-4 dB power advantage (a factor of two improvement) for matched parameters over traditional signal modulation.

Astrapi’s Spiral Modulation makes use of symbol waveform alphabets designed using polynomials instead of traditional sinusoids. The use of these “Polynomial Symbol Waveform (PSW) alphabets” makes available a very large symbol waveform design space that contains an almost unlimited number of polynomials that may be used to create symbol waveform alphabets with greater inter-symbol distinguishability, and therefore greater noise resistance, than traditional signal modulation symbol waveforms. Patented PSW design techniques are applied to ensure excellent signal characteristics such as low occupied bandwidth.

Further improvements in the occupied bandwidth used by a signal are anticipated through hardware implementation of Astrapi’s Instantaneous Spectral Analysis (ISA) technology, a component of Spiral Modulation. Mathematically and in software simulation, ISA has shown, with peer-reviewed publication, the ability to dramatically reduce the range of frequencies into which it is necessary to put power, and thus the required occupied bandwidth.

Astrapi and Morgan State University have collaborated previously in the application of Machine Learning to the improvement of the design of Spiral Modulation waveforms. Dr. Kofi Nyarko, Director of MSU’s Engineering Visualization Research Laboratory (EVRL), will be the academic lead for this project, and MSU will continue to seek improvements in the design of these waveforms.

Dr. Jerrold Prothero, Astrapi Founder and CEO, stated, “We have been involved with AFWERX since its beginning and are quite excited by this opportunity to meet high-performance communication requirements for advanced air mobility vehicles. This funding will help transition critical new capabilities to Warfighters.”

Spiral Modulation is a dual-use technology that is also being developed for numerous commercial applications, including satellite VSAT applications, funded in part by an SBIR Phase II grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Additional Spiral Modulation markets are in such uses as backhaul, terrestrial wireless, and the Internet-of-Things.

ABOUT Astrapi Corporation
Astrapi is the pioneer of Spiral Modulation, which opens an unexplored area for innovation at the core of telecommunications. Currently Astrapi has twelve US patents issued, with more pending and with corresponding international patent coverage. Based on a generalization of Euler’s formula, the foundational mathematics for telecommunications, Astrapi provides fundamentally new ways to optimize the use of the spectrum. By applying this new mathematics to signal modulation, Astrapi is able to improve the trade-off between the four fundamental parameters in telecommunications: bandwidth, signal power, data throughput, and error rate. The resulting efficiency translates into higher spectral performance with more bits available at a lower cost. Further information at http://www.astrapi-corp.com

ABOUT Morgan State University
Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified doctoral research institution providing instruction to a multiethnic, multiracial, multinational student body and offering more than 100 academic programs leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate. As Maryland's Preeminent Public Urban Research University, Morgan fulfills its mission to address the needs and challenges of the modern urban environment through intense community-level study and pioneering solutions.

Morgan has graduated more than 50,000-degree candidates since its establishment more than 150 years ago, producing a passionately devoted corps of alumni who have found success in all areas of endeavor, in the U.S. and beyond. Among the nation's most diverse Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and the largest in Maryland, Morgan seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. The Morgan State University Engineering Visualization Research Laboratory provides tools, technology and techniques that offer insight into complex data or concepts. We engage in a wide area of research involving engineering visualization, computational engineering and general electrical engineering principles. By providing the means to fully realize ideas, concepts or data through visual, tactile and auditory means, one can enhance comprehension, improve awareness and stimulate innovation.

ABOUT the United States Air Force Agility Prime program
The Air Force recently launched Agility Prime, a non-traditional program seeking to accelerate the use of commercial capabilities for advanced air mobility vehicles (i.e., "flying cars"). Leveraging unique testing resources and revenue generating government use cases for distributed logistics and disaster response, the government plans to mitigate current commercial market and regulatory risks. Agility Prime also aims to bring together industry, investor, and government communities to establish safety and security standards while accelerating commercialization of this revolutionary technology. The Innovative Capabilities Opening establishes a rapid contracting mechanism beginning in 2020 with a “Race to Certification” series to drive government procurement of operational capability by 2023.

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Andy Roscoe
Astrapi Corporation
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