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CesiumAstro Selected by Rocket Lab to Provide Multi-Beam Ka-Band Communications Payloads for its Space Development Agency Tranche 2 Transport Layer Constellation

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CesiumAstro has been selected by Rocket Lab to provide its Vireo active electronically scanned array (AESA) radio frequency (RF) communications payload for integration on 18 space vehicles supporting the Space Development Agency’s Tranche 2 Transport Layer. The payload, launching in mid-2027, will be the first multi-beam-capable Ka-band communications system operating in the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA), delivering secure, low-latency communications and missile tracking capabilities for the U.S. Department of Defense.

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  • CesiumAstro's Vireo payload is the culmination of over seven years of research, development, testing, and manufacturing, showcasing advanced single- and multi-beam capabilities.

  • The Vireo system's mass-manufacturable design and configurable architecture allow for rapid deployment with maximum flexibility, compatible with various defense and commercial missions.

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AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- CesiumAstro, an industry leader in active phased array communications technology for space and airborne systems, announced today that the company was selected by Rocket Lab (Nasdaq: RKLB) to provide its Vireo active electronically scanned array (AESA) radio frequency (RF) communications payload for integration on 18 space vehicles (SVs) supporting the Space Development Agency’s (SDA’s) Tranche 2 Transport Layer (T2TL). Launching in mid-2027, the payload will be the first multi-beam-capable Ka-band communications system operating in SDA’s Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA), a layered low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation designed to deliver secure, low-latency communications and missile tracking capabilities for the U.S. Department of Defense.

CesiumAstro’s Vireo payload is comprised of three distinct units: a receive antenna, a transmit antenna, and a reconfigurable processing unit (from left). Image courtesy: CesiumAstro

CesiumAstro’s Vireo payload is comprised of three distinct units: a receive antenna, a transmit antenna, and a reconfigurable processing unit (from left). Image courtesy: CesiumAstro

CesiumAstro’s Vireo payload is the culmination of more than seven years of the company’s AESA research, development, testing, and manufacturing. A receive antenna, transmit antenna, and SpaceVPX form-factor reconfigurable processor enable powerful single- and multi-beam operation.

“Our Vireo system’s multi-beam capability doesn’t just meet the needs of the warfighter but exceeds them. This cutting-edge technology will be a force multiplier for every branch of the Department of Defense,” said Shey Sabripour, Founder and CEO of CesiumAstro. “We are honored to be selected by Rocket Lab to deploy CesiumAstro’s active phased array technology and help to defend America’s national security interests.”

Rocket Lab’s 18 satellites are part of the T2TL Beta Program, which features multiple SV and mission configuration variants fielded to provide global communications access and deliver persistent regional encrypted connectivity in support of warfighter missions. When fully operational, the Transport Layer constellation will include hundreds of SVs operating in low-Earth orbit, including 90 total Beta Program configurations.

“We’re pleased to be flying the CesiumAstro Vireo communications payload,” said Rocket Lab’s Vice President of Space Systems, Brad Clevenger. “This mission will be a significant demonstration our spacecraft’s ability to support diverse applications in low-Earth orbit. The Vireo system’s advanced single- and multi-beam capabilities perfectly align with our Pioneer bus, showcasing the technological advancements we’re enabling.”

Compatible with many different defense and commercial missions, the Vireo payload’s mass-manufacturable design and configurable architecture allow for rapid deployment with maximum flexibility.

About CesiumAstro

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with offices in Colorado, California, and the United Kingdom, CesiumAstro builds high-throughput, software-defined phased array communications payloads for airborne and space platforms, including satellites, missiles, UASs, and more. CesiumAstro’s full-stack, multi-mission hardware and software solutions enable a range of commercial, government, and defense objectives. CesiumAstro provides full in-house design, manufacturing, and testing capabilities based on the ISO AS9100 standard. To learn more, visit CesiumAstro.com.

About Rocket Lab

Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company with an established track record of mission success. We deliver reliable launch services, satellite manufacture, spacecraft components, and on-orbit management solutions that make it faster, easier, and more affordable to access space. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Rocket Lab designs and manufactures the Electron small orbital launch vehicle, the Photon satellite platform, and the Company is developing the large Neutron launch vehicle for constellation deployment. Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle has become the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually and has delivered 180+ satellites to orbit for private and public sector organizations, enabling operations in national security, scientific research, space debris mitigation, Earth observation, climate monitoring, and communications. Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft platform has been selected to support NASA missions to the Moon and Mars, as well as the first private commercial mission to Venus. Rocket Lab has three launch pads at two launch sites, including two launch pads at a private orbital launch site located in New Zealand and a third launch pad in Virginia. To learn more, visit www.rocketlabusa.com.

Media Contact

Aimée Ahiers, media@cesiumastro.com

Source: CesiumAstro

FAQ

What is CesiumAstro's role in the Rocket Lab project?

CesiumAstro was selected to provide its Vireo active electronically scanned array (AESA) radio frequency (RF) communications payload for integration on 18 space vehicles for Rocket Lab's project.

What is Rocket Lab's Tranche 2 Transport Layer constellation about?

Rocket Lab's Tranche 2 Transport Layer constellation is a layered low-Earth orbit satellite constellation designed to deliver secure, low-latency communications and missile tracking capabilities for the U.S. Department of Defense.

When will the payload launch?

The payload is set to launch in mid-2027.

What are the key features of CesiumAstro's Vireo payload?

The Vireo payload consists of a receive antenna, a transmit antenna, and a reconfigurable processing unit, enabling powerful single- and multi-beam operation.

What are the benefits of the Vireo system for Rocket Lab?

The Vireo system's advanced single- and multi-beam capabilities align with Rocket Lab's Pioneer bus, showcasing technological advancements for diverse applications in low-Earth orbit.

Rocket Lab USA, Inc.

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