NIGHTINGALE 1Ka-Band High-Speed Downlink Payload



Nightingale 1 is a fully integrated Ka-band phased array communications 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 along with 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—key enablers 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, 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 Development 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, and 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



24.5 to 29.5GHz


(Minimum, w/ One Tile)

Instantaneous Bandwidth
(Per Channel)

200MHz Tx
100MHz Rx

EIRP at P1dB


DC Input Voltage

22 to 36V

Baseplate Operating Temperature

-24 to 61°C

(Total System)

<1.2Kg (Depending on Configuration)


nightingale diagram cesium