CesiumAstro has partnered with the US Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to launch its first Cesium Mission 1 (CM1), a two-satellite on-orbit testbed.

The first two spacecraft have been integrated as secondary payloads onto the Atlas V rocket.

The satellites will take off on a rideshare with NASA’s Landsat-9 next month.

CesiumAstro is collaborating with the US Department of Defense’s unit to showcase a ‘reduced-latency direct downlink to tactical ground terminals’ as one of the many proposed defence and commercial experiments.

Comprising two 6U cubesats, CM1 allows both commercial and defence customers to execute experiments using its active electronically steerable array (AESA) communications and crosslink communications payloads.

It is the first of several planned technology missions demonstrating CesiumAstro’s advanced communications payloads.

This mission will allow Low Earth Orbit (LEO) experimentation from next month. It will be carried out through 2026.

CesiumAstro founder and CEO Shey Sabripour said: “DIU is cultivating a rich environment for innovation and partnership.

“This collaboration allows CesiumAstro to showcase the benefits of our scalable software-defined AESA technology in support of future DoD missions.”

Partners across both commercial and government sectors are planning multiple experiments on CM1 mission.

CM1’s communications payloads are available for sale both as standard and customisable products.

Separately, the company is also working with other defence agencies to support major government programmes.

It is developing a high-speed missile-to-missile communication system in collaboration with the Missile Defense Agency.