The Tomorrow-R1 Satellite from and Astro Digital Inc. (Image courtesy Vitesse Systems/PRNewswire-PRWeb)

Since 2021, Vitesse Systems has invested in two additional metal additive manufacturing machines and increased its design engineering capacity.

NEWARK, Calif.—Vitesse Systems achieved a key technical milestone recently by delivering its first additively manufactured satellite antenna, the company said in a release.

The passive antenna was integrated into the Tomorrow-R1 satellite, which became the world’s first commercially built weather radar satellite when it was launched in May 2023. A second duplicate satellite, Tomorrow-R2, launched in June 2023.

The antenna was designed and tested at Vitesse Systems’ Longmont location, previously occupied by Custom Microwave Inc. Since acquiring Custom Microwave 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, according to the release.

Vitesse Systems has also developed a range of proprietary finishing processes that enhance the surface characteristics of its antenna products, overcoming the limitations previously associated with additively manufactured antenna, the company said.

“Over the past few years, we have developed our additive manufacturing capability to optimize antenna performance and reduce development lead times,” said Vitesse Systems Longmont General Manager Richie Dart, in the release. “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.”

Vitesse Systems is a supplier of antenna, thermal management, and power distribution products used in radar, electronic warfare, and data transmission applications. Headquartered in Newark, California, Vitesse operates facilities in California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Nevada. All of its facilities are ITAR Registered and DFARS compliant, serving a broad range of aerospace and defense customers.

“We began working with the team at back in 2020,” said Vitesse Systems CTO Clency Lee Yow, Ph.D., in the release. “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.”