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Rocket Lab selects subcontractors to develop 18 satellites for SDA



Rocket Lab Rocket Development Center Long Beach

Rocket Lab has selected subcontractors to support the development of 18 satellites for the Space Development Agency (SDA). The $515 million contract was awarded in December by the agency including the designing, manufacturing, delivery, and operation of these satellites.

These satellites will equip solar panels, structures, star trackers, reaction wheels, radio, flight software, avionics, and launch dispensers. The rocket company will also procure and integrate the payloads and other subsystems along with the selection of subcontractors. Including the following.


CesiumAstro: This company is known for an active phased array communications technology for space and airborne systems, CesiumAstro will provide its Vireo active electronically scanned array (AESA) radio frequency (RF) communications payload. The payload will be the first multi-beam-capable Ka-band communications system operating in SDA’s PWSA.


Mynaric: It provides free space optical communications terminals for air, space, and mobile applications, Mynaric has been selected to provide CONDOR Mk3 optical communication terminals.

SEAKR Engineering: A supplier of advanced payload and mission solutions, has been selected to provide the Tactical Satellite Communications (TACSATCOM) Software Defined Radio (SDR) and Network Encryption System (NES).


Collins Aerospace: Collins Aerospace will provide the waveform for the SDR, which is the software and firmware required to transmit and receive TACSATCOM.

Redwire Space: Redwire Space has been selected to provide antennas and RF hardware.


Parsons Corporation: It will supply the NEBULA Operations – Vendor Architecture (NOVA) which will be Rocket Lab’s ground system for managing operations for its 18 satellites.



Mel Trivalo is a senior author at, he began his early career in electronics in 2021 and turned his attention towards Space and Rocket Science. Mel likes to explore new technologies and swings baseball to run through creative thoughts.

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