In a significant milestone for the company, Vitesse Systems delivered its first additively manufactured satellite antenna, which was integrated into the Tomorrow-R1 satellite, marking a groundbreaking achievement in commercial weather radar satellites. The Tomorrow-R1 satellite was the world’s first commercially built weather radar satellite when it was launched last year.
Since acquiring Custom Microwave Inc. in 2021, a specialist in 3D printing of space-bound parts, Vitesse Systems has strategically invested in additive manufacturing technology, expanding its capabilities and overcoming previous limitations, paving the way for innovative solutions in aerospace and defense. The company’s commitment to optimizing antenna performance and reducing development lead times showcases its dedication to advancing technology in the space hardware industry.
The antenna was designed and tested at Vitesse Systems Longmont location (previously Custom Microwave Inc). Since acquiring the business in 2021, Vitesse Systems has invested in two additional metal additive manufacturing machines and increased its design engineering capacity to streamline the development of complex antenna solutions. Vitesse Systems has also developed a range of proprietary finishing processes that enhance the surface characteristics of its antenna solutions; overcoming the limitations previously associated with additively manufactured antenna.
Richie Dart – General Manager, Vitesse Systems Longmont, explained, “Over the past few years, we have developed our additive manufacturing capability to optimize antenna performance and reduce development lead times. We initially focused on Ground and Airborne antenna applications, but it was always our intent to use this technology for Space hardware. Delivering our first additively manufactured satellite antenna is an important step on our technology roadmap and we look forward to more opportunities to leverage our additive capabilities for our customers.”
Dr. Clency Lee Yow, CTO, Vitesse Systems, added: “We began working with the team at Tomorrow.io back in 2020. As we developed the preliminary antenna design, we realized that we could optimize RF performance and reduce the overall mass of the antenna by using our additive manufacturing capability. Now that we have demonstrated that additive can be used in a space hardware application, it opens a broad range of other opportunities for Vitesse.”