Three OSSTP Members Receive Funding from the Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Undergraduate Research Awards

Jun 1, 2021

In Spring 2021, three Olin undergraduates from the Olin Satellite + Spectrum Technology & Policy (OSSTP) research group received the Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Undergraduate Research Awards.

In Spring 2021, three Olin undergraduates from the Olin Satellite + Spectrum Technology & Policy (OSSTP) research group -- Audrey Lee ‘22, Navi Boyalakuntla ‘22, and Antoinette Tan ‘24 -- received the Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Undergraduate Research Awards from the CBL Program. The program is administered by the Henry Luce Foundation and named after Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987). It is regarded as the single largest private source of funding for women in science and engineering ever since it was established in 1989 and has supported more than 2,800 women. The CBL Awards are given to those who are seeking to study or teach science, mathematics, and/or engineering through their research projects and plans for graduate studies.

Audrey Lee is focusing on interference from non-geostationary satellite communications systems, namely megaconstellations, into the radio astronomy community, which is a subfield of astronomy that studies celestial objects at radio frequencies. It is conducted using large radio antennas referred to as radio telescopes. As the increase in commercial use of this spectrum continues to develop, ensuring that radio frequencies do not interfere with each other is crucial. There exists certain computational practices to ensure that there is not any interference for radio astronomy systems (RAS). One of these practices is Equivalent Power Flux Density (EPFD). It is used by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to analyze whether or not the potential interference that a new satellite system could cause is permissible. Audrey is researching mitigation algorithms for protecting passive science users and developing a tool that focuses on protecting commercial networks of radio astronomy systems.

Navi Boyalakuntla is focusing on analyzing data from the United State’s Federal Communications (FCC) spectrum auctions and how currently, communications network service providers apply for, and/or bid on portions of spectrum through the FCC. She plans to scrape the FCC’s website for license and auction data and analyze different frequency bands, territory sizes, and auction rules. This data has never been analyzed on the proposed scale and she plans to further her goals after analysis by creating a predictive valuation model. Valuing the right to provide wireless service in any given area and knowing what the value of that lease could be 15 years down the road can incentivize people to apply for licenses in the future, bringing more individuals in rural locations online. As more entities are brought online, this will improve people’s access to education and healthcare, and spur economic growth. She is also researching other potential valuation metrics that could be used other than the current standard.

Antoinette Tan is focusing on building the tools necessary to help satellites launch without interfering with one another and enable access to these critical services for everyone by making a link budget assessment tool. This tool calculates interference-to-noise (I/N) and graphs the I/N for different networks. This will give insight into the interference environment from large commercial satellite communications networks into other networks and validates their expected I/N. In doing so, users and companies in the industry will be given insight into potential harmful interference from certain satellite constellations and assist regulatory bodies in evaluating the permissibility of specific satellites.