Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) Announces Launch of Two Satellites

TORONTO, Ontario, Canada, 8 October 2020 – Space Flight Laboratory (SFL), a developer of 52 distinct small satellites over 22 years, has announced the launch of the Kepler-4 and Kepler-5 CubeSats. These two satellites, benefit from the extensive flight heritage possessed by SFL. Additionally, SFL played an instrumental role in the development of the production workflow at Kepler that will enable Kepler to produce additional satellites to deliver the GEN1 constellation.

“The successful development and launch of the Kepler-4 and -5 communications satellites mark a new chapter in the collaboration between microspace and newspace organizations,” said SFL Director Dr. Robert E. Zee. “For its newspace endeavor, Kepler has utilized our two decades of microspace design and development expertise and then leveraged this for cost-effective in-house mass production.”

The two 6U-XL CubeSats were launched September 28, 2020, aboard a Soyuz-Fregat launch vehicle from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia. Within hours of launch, both satellites were in communication with Kepler ground control and were functioning as planned.

“Leveraging SFL’s experience we have a high degree of confidence in the performance of these satellites. This will pave the way towards our GEN1 constellation and future spacecraft in our network,” said Director of Space Systems, Jared Bottoms.

Kepler-4 and -5 are the first service-focused CubeSats in Kepler Communications’ constellation that will ultimately include 140 satellites. SFL developed Kepler-4 in concert with Kepler, which is based on SFL’s new SPARTAN 6U-XL CubeSat design, with mass production in mind. As Kepler-4 was in production, SFL personnel provided training and technical support to Kepler in creating the manufacturing workflow capable of assembling and integrating the additional satellites at a 5,000-square-foot facility adjacent to Kepler headquarters in Toronto.

“We designed our SPARTAN 6U-XL bus – along with two other new CubeSat platforms – to cost effectively meet the reliability, performance and capability demands of fully commercial operations,” said SFL’s Zee.

Established in 1998, SFL has designed and built 52 distinct nano- and microsatellites with 24 under construction and nearing launch and another 28 launched (23 of which are still operational), totaling over 128 cumulative years of successful operation in orbit. Many of these microspace missions have included SFL’s trusted attitude control and formation-flying technologies.

To learn more about SFL’s new line of CubeSat’s, visit

About Space Flight Laboratory (
SFL generates bigger returns from smaller, lower cost satellites. Small satellites built by SFL consistently push the performance envelope and disrupt the traditional cost paradigm. Satellites are built with advanced power systems, stringent attitude control and high-volume data capacity that are striking relative to the budget. SFL arranges launches globally and maintains a mission

control center accessing ground stations worldwide. The pioneering and barrier-breaking work of SFL is a key enabler to tomorrow’s cost aggressive satellite constellations. (

Dr. Robert E. Zee SFL Director
Follow SFL on Twitter @SFL_SmallerSats

Two Kepler satellites launch on Sept. 28, 2020. (Credit: Roscosmos.)

Two Kepler satellites launch on Sept. 28, 2020. (Credit: Roscosmos.)


GHGSat Reports Smallest Methane Emission Ever Detected from Space with Microsatellite Developed by Space Flight Laboratory (SFL)
Oct 22 2020
Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) Announces Launch of Two Satellites
Oct 08 2020
Space Flight Laboratory Announces Launch of Atmospheric Monitoring and Earth Observation Microsatellites
Sep 04 2020
Blog - Disruptive vs Operational Mission Strategies
Aug 12 2020
Blog - Join SFL at the Virtual SmallSat 2020
Jul 31 2020
Blog - Space Flight Laboratory Announces New Line of Cost-Effective CubeSats to Expand its Current Satellite Offerings
Jul 29 2020
Blog - AISSat-1 Maritime Vessel Tracking Nanosat Celebrates 10th Anniversary
Jul 22 2020
Jul 17 2020
Blog - SFL Comprehensive Microspace Mission Development Includes Ground Segment
Jul 06 2020
Blog - Autonomous Formation Flying Enables Multi-Satellite Applications – Part 2
Jun 01 2020
Blog - Autonomous Formation Flying Enables Multi-Satellite Applications – Part 1
May 22 2020
Blog - What’s Under Development at SFL? Atmospheric Monitoring Missions
Apr 27 2020
Blog - What’s Under Development at SFL? Ship Tracking and Remote Sensing Missions
Mar 26 2020
Blog - SFL and Kepler Collaboration Featured on SatTV News
Feb 14 2020
Space Flight Laboratory and Kepler Communications Announce Collaboration on Fully Operational Nanosatellite Constellation
Feb 03 2020
Blog - What’s Under Development at SFL? Commercial GHGSat and HE360 Missions
Jan 13 2020
Blog - Attitude Control Crucial for Practical Applications of Small Satellites – Part 2
Dec 16 2019
Blog - Attitude Control Crucial for Practical Applications of Small Satellites – Part 1
Dec 09 2019
Blog - Do Microspace Companies Have a Role in the NewSpace Era?
Nov 15 2019
HawkEye 360 Awards Contract to Build Next-Generation Satellite Constellation to Achieve Rapid Revisit for Global Spectrum Awareness
Sep 18 2019
Space Flight Laboratory to Build HawkEye 360 Next-Gen Microsatellite Cluster for Commercial Radio Frequency Geolocation
Mar 27 2019
Canada Awards Contracts In Support of Arctic Surveillance
Feb 01 2019
Arianespace to Launch Slovenian NEMO-HD Microsatellite
Dec 03 2018
HawkEye 360 Announces Successful Launch of First Three Satellites Built by SFL Under Contract to DSI
Dec 03 2018
A New Star in the Sky
Nov 20 2018
GHGSat selects Arianespace to launch GHGSat-C1 on Vega
Nov 15 2018
UTIAS-SFL Students Win Significant Awards for their Technical Papers
Aug 14 2018
SFL-Led Nanosatellite Team Receives Canadian Alouette Award for Precise Autonomous Formation Flight
May 17 2018
NorSat-3 Ordered by Norwegian Space Centre, Satellite Under Construction at SFL
Jan 10 2018
Norwegian AIS Satellites See Far More Ships
Jan 10 2018
BRITE Reveals Spots on Supergiant Star Drive Spirals in Stellar Wind
Oct 24 2017
CLARA on NorSat-1 Successfully Switched on for the First Time
Aug 25 2017
Norwegian Satellites Launched Successfully and Healthy
Jul 14 2017
GHGSat Unveils Satellite Imagery
May 23 2017
Dubai Space Centre Orders Environmental Monitoring Satellite from SFL
May 16 2017
After Only One Week, CanX-7 Shows Drag Sails are Effective at Deorbiting Satellite
May 11 2017
CanX-7 Successfully Deploys Drag Sails kicking off Deorbiting Demonstration
May 04 2017
GHGSat Announces 1000th Measurement – Two Months Ahead of Schedule
Apr 07 2017
Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) Nanosatellite Validates Aircraft Tracking, Prepares for Deorbit Demo
Mar 30 2017
Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) to Develop Microsatellites for Greenhouse Gas Monitoring
Mar 24 2017
CanX-7 Aircraft Tracking and Deorbiting Demo Satellite Launched, Contacted, and Healthy
Sep 26 2016
GHGSat-D (CLAIRE) Bus Commissioning Ahead of Schedule
Jun 27 2016
M3MSat Launched and Successfully Contacted
Jun 22 2016
GHGSat-D (CLAIRE) Launches Successfully and First Contact Indicates Good Health
Jun 22 2016
Deep Space Industries and SFL selected to provide satellites for HawkEye 360’s Pathfinder mission
May 26 2016
Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) to Provide LEO Bus to SSL
May 10 2016
NORSAT-1 Launch Postponed Due to Faulty Bracket Provided by Arianespace
Apr 14 2016
BRITE-Constellation Sees Stars in a New Light
Feb 05 2016
Deep Space Industries Teams with UTIAS Space Flight Laboratory to Demonstrate Autonomous Spacecraft Maneuvering
Jan 26 2016
exactView-9 Launched Successfully and Contacted
Sep 28 2015
View All News Articles View All Blog Articles
© 2014 University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies Space Flight Lab. All rights reserved.