NIGHTINGALE 1Ka-Band High-Speed Downlink Payload



Nightingale I is a fully integrated Ka-band phased array communication system providing a complete hardware and software solution for high-speed RF links with a dynamically steerable beam. The system includes an active phased array antenna as well as a software-defined radio, single-board computer, power converter, and RF front-end—all integrated into a seamless high-speed downlink solution.

The complete-system approach and small form-factor allow for plug-and-play integration with LEO spacecraft and airborne platforms, while the tile architecture allows for system scaling and adaptation to mission requirements. Per-element array control enables on-orbit optimization of power and beam shape.

CesiumAstro’s approach pushes the envelope to provide a cost-effective phased array solution on aggressive schedules—a key enabler of LEO constellations.


Complete Bits-to-Photons Solution:
• Includes a software-defined radio, frequency converters, power conditioning, and digital control​​

Compact Form-Factor:
• 120mm x 83mm x 7mm packaged (APA-1AT1)
• 50mm x 84mm x 13mm packaged (SDR, SBC, PCU, UDC)​

Steerable Phased Array:
• Software-selectable center frequency
• Digitally-steerable and shapeable beam
• Electronic steering to +/- 60°
• Time-division duplexing (TDD) architecture for transmit and receive from one aperture​​

Software-Defined Communications System:
• Ships with an out-of-the-box integrated modem, along with an SDR Dev Kit for user-defined waveforms
• Software API to turn azimuth/elevation angles into beam steering, along with payload packet management and health and status checks
• Power management options using low-power modes throughout the system
• Quad-core ARM processing with Linux or VxWorks with optional SBC

​​Modular Architecture:
• Scalable Array: Tiles can be added to increase the aperture size
• Common Backend: Other frequency bands can be supported by the same power and digital modules

​​Flexible Interfaces​:
• Digital: Includes options for Ethernet, RS-422, SpaceWire, SPI
• Mechanical: Configurable, conformal mounting options for spacecraft ranging from cube-sats to large LEO constellations​​

Designed for Aerospace:
• Suitable for both military and commercial applications on LEO satellites and airborne platforms
• Ruggedized design in an aluminum enclosure
• Thermal management included



25GHz to 29GHz


8° (minimum, with one tile)

Instantaneous Bandwidth:
(Per Channel)

200MHz Tx 100MHz Rx

EIRP at P1dB:


DC Input Voltage:

22°C to 36V

Baseplate Operating Temperature:

-24°C to 61°C

(Total System)

<1.2Kg (depending on configuration)


nightingale diagram cesium