NIGHTINGALE 1Ka-Band High-Speed Downlink Payload



Nightingale I is a fully-integrated Ka-band phased array communication system that provides 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.

Cesium’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 Communication 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 Back-end: 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 CubeSats 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



25 GHz to 29 GHz


8° (Minimum, with one tile)

Instantaneous Bandwidth: (Per Channel)

200 MHz Tx 100 MHz Rx

EIRP at P1dB:

30 dBW

DC Input Voltage:

22 to 36 V

Baseplate Operating Temperature:

-24 to +61 °C

Mass: (Total System)

<1.2 Kg (Depending on configuration)


nightingale diagram cesium