CesiumAstro, Inc. announced the release of the S-Band CommPack Inter-Satellite Link (ISL) for commercial, government and defense applications, built to NASA GEVS standards and available in volume. Designed for swarm operation and formation flying, CesiumAstro’s CommPack supports mobile ad-hoc networking (MANET) protocol to enable flexible flight scenarios for both small satellite and cube satellite applications. Multiple antenna support can provide full spherical coverage around the spacecraft.

CommPack Highlights:

  • High-reliability flight-ready solution for LEO and airborne missions
  • Multiple antenna architecture for 360-degree coverage around the spacecraft
  • Single tile and quad tile antenna configurations for small satellite and cube satellite applications
  • Designed for 2.4 GHz frequency band but rapidly customizable to support other RF bands
  • Supports SpaceWire, serial and Ethernet Base-X connectivity.

Deployment of many low-cost satellites can now provide the mission capability and performance of large bespoke satellites of the past with added resiliency at a fraction of the cost. Working together in formation, multiple satellites can coordinate sensing and communication for optimized mission results. CesiumAstro’s CommPack ISL provides an off-the-shelf solution for implementing a mesh network with nearby satellites using time-division with carrier-sense for collision avoidance.

CommPack was chosen for the NASA Starling Program to support swarm-enabled missions and build flight heritage for MANET protocols. They will enable a wide range of tests that include swarm topologies, communications, routing and synchronization. Multiple flight sets were delivered to NASA in support of the program.

“Multi-spacecraft missions offer many benefits over bespoke satellites of the past,” said Shey Sabripour, founder and CEO of CesiumAstro. “CommPack provides a plug-and-play solution for low-SWAP RF-based satellite-to-satellite communication and coordination.”

Powered by CesiumAstro’s recently released SDR-1001, CommPack implements a flexible and reconfigurable MANET protocol that enables direct communication between multiple satellites. Each CommPack communications payload includes the software-defined radio (SDR-1001) and two active S-Band antennas (AA-1S2T1). In addition, the system is supplied with all necessary intra-system harnessing, requiring only DC power connection and digital data from the spacecraft. The payload communicates with other payloads by negotiating and establishing a link with no external synchronization required. Special consideration was taken in the design of the system and the antenna to protect nearby GPS bands. The system minimizes the potential for interference by strictly adhering to the spectral mask with greater than 60 dB of out-of-band isolation.

CesiumAstro’s CommPack is currently shipping in engineering development and flight model configurations for both small satellite and cube satellite platforms.  Available accessories include breakout boards for the high-density connectors and antenna hats for lab-based RF testing and final checkout.