Shey Sabripour, CesiumAstro founder and CEO, shown in the company's Austin, Texas, New Product Introduction facility. Credit: Melissa Glynn

SAN FRANCISCO – CesiumAstro, a startup specializing in phased array communications payloads, raised $65 million in a Series B+ investment round announced June 18.

With the additional funding, CesiumAstro will “continue to grow the company because we’re seeing so much demand that we need to scale every division,” Shey Sabripour, CesiumAstro founder and CEO, told SpaceNews.

CesiumAstro plans to expand its staff to bolster research and development and manufacturing both domestically and internationally.

Since its founding in 2017, CesiumAstro has raised $156 million in equity including $60 million from an initial Series B funding round two years ago.

Demand Drivers

Sabripour sees two primary reasons demand is growing for phased array communications payloads.

“We as human beings are mobile and we want our data in our cars, our phones and our airplanes,” Sabripour said. “On the military side, the amount of data that has to transfer from the center command to the warfighter on drones, aircraft and satellites is increasing.”

In addition, artificial intelligence is heightening demand for data communications.

Autonomous vehicles, for example, often generate a terabyte of data per day from their cameras and sensors.

“All this hunger for data requires a revolution in telecommunication,” Sabripour said.

Space and In-Flight Connectivity

Trousdale Ventures led the latest funding round. The Development Bank of Japan and Quanta Computer matched Trousdale’s investment. Additional participants include Kleiner Perkins, Lavrock Ventures, L3Harris Technologies, InMotion Ventures, Matter Venture Partners, MESH Ventures and Assembly Ventures.

“We have unwavering confidence in Shey’s leadership and CesiumAstro’s team and believe this investment will propel their mission to deliver scalable space tech for a range of applications,” Phillip Sarofim, Trousdale Venture founding partner and CEO, said in a statement.

Last year, CesiumAstro, a company known for supplying phased array antennas for satellites, entered the in-flight connectivity market.

“CesiumAstro’s full-mission payloads for space and air have huge potential to enable the next generation of connectivity solutions,” Masao Masuda, Development Bank of Japan managing executive officer, said in a statement.

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, CesiumAstro has offices in Colorado, California and the United Kingdom.

CesiumAstro’s first antenna flew in December as part of an optical communications and navigation payload for CACI International, a defense contractor based in Reston, Virginia.

RocketLab has also subcontracted CesiumAstro to provide antennas as part of a $515 million contract with the Space Development Agency for 18 military satellites slated to launch in mid-2027.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...

Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...