Products & Services: Low-Cost Launch Service

December 11, 2013

Nanosatellite Launch Service: Program Objectives

SFL provides a low-cost launch service for nanosatellites, microsatellites and small satellites. This service was originally motivated by the needs of the Canadian Advanced Nanospace eXperiment (CanX) program, but very quickly expanded to include nanosatellites and microsatellites from around the world. SFL’s current launch service is not limited by size of satellite, but can be exploited for many different classes of mission. SFL maintains strong partnerships with international launch providers and has demonstrated experience in negotiating custom injection requirements for secondary payloads, while also having access to more exotic orbits beyond low Earth orbit.

launchA principal feature of the approach taken by UTIAS/SFL is to mitigate the technical and financial risk shared by the spacecraft developers who are partners in a particular launch, while maintaining reasonable costs and ensuring timely delivery. UTIAS/SFL continues to collaborate with launch providers to address the needs of the nanosatellite community by reducing the real cost of coordination incurred by launch providers and spacecraft developers.

SFL has arranged the launches of numerous satellites since its Nanosatellite Launch Service (NLS) began in 2002. Many satellites from many different countries have arranged their launch through SFL’s expert care. Past, current and future NLS campaigns are summarized below. SFL’s low-cost launch service can arrange launches on practically any launch vehicle. Past launches have included Indian (PSLV) and Russian (Rockot, COSMOS-3M, Dnepr, Soyuz) vehicles. Future launches are not limited to the vehicles used in the past, however. SFL has strong working relationships with launch providers worldwide. The SFL dispenser system called the “XPOD” can be used for any size of nanosatellite up to 16 kilograms. Larger satellites, including microsatellites and small satellites use traditional separation systems provided either by the launch agency or procured from established vendors.

Nanosatellite Launch Service 1

AAU Cubesat, DTUsat, CanX-1 in the UTIAS/SFL Clean Room

AAU Cubesat, DTUsat, CanX-1 in the UTIAS/SFL Clean Room

Launch Date: June 30, 2003
Launch Vehicle: Rockot
Separation System: P-POD Launcher (USA)
Spacecraft Complement: AAU Cubesat (Denmark), DTUsat (Denmark), CanX-1 (Canada)
UTIAS/SFL played a leading role in arranging the launch and supporting the launch integration effort for three satellites during the Eurockot Multiple Orbit Mission campaign. The integrated launch tube, NLS-1, was launched on June 30, 2003 from Plesetsk, Russia.

Nanosatellite Launch Service 2

Launch Date: June 30, 2003
Launch Vehicle: Rockot
Separation System: P-POD Launcher (USA)
Spacecraft Complement: QuakeSat (USA)
UTIAS/SFL played a leading role in arranging the launch and supporting the integration and the pre-launch servicing of QuakeSat during the Eurockot Multiple Orbit Mission campaign. The second integrated launch tube, NLS-2, was also launched on June 30, 2003 from Plesetsk, Russia.

Nanosatellite Launch Service 3

University of Tokyo students load XI-V into a UTIAS/SFL T-POD 1.7 mounted in SSETI-Express

University of Tokyo students load XI-V  into a UTIAS/SFL T-POD 1.7 mounted in SSETI-Express

Launch Date: October 27, 2005
Launch Vehicle / Parent Spacecraft: Cosmos-3M, ESA SSETI Express
Separation System: T-POD 1.7 (Canada & Japan)
Spacecraft Complement: NCUBE-2 (Norway), UWE-1 (Germany), XI-V (Japan)
UTIAS/SFL supported the integration of three nanosatellites with the SSETI-Express microsatellite launched in 2005. UTIAS/SFL developed three T-POD 1.7 separation systems for this purpose in collaboration with the University of Tokyo Intelligent Space Systems Laboratory (ISSL) in Japan.

Nanosatellite Launch Service 4

NLS-4 and NLS-5 spacecraft mounted on the PLSV-C9

NLS-4 and NLS-5 spacecraft mounted on the PLSV-C9

Launch Date: April 28, 2008 at 03:54:51 UTC.
Launch Vehicle: Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PLSV-C9)
Separation System: XPOD Single (3), XPOD Triple (1), and XPOD Triple-M1 (1) Cute Separation System (1)
Spacecraft Complement: CanX-2 (Canada), AAUsat-2 (Denmark), Cute-1.7+APD II (Japan), COMPASS-1 (Germany), Delfi-C3 (Netherlands), SEEDS (Japan)
UTIAS/SFL coordinated the launch of six nanosatellites on Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle C9 (PSLV-C9) on April 28, 2008. UTIAS/SFL led the final integration and launch campaign for the NLS-4 cluster.  NLS-4 used five XPOD separation systems. Three different sizes of XPOD were used to accommodate the satellites.

Nanosatellite Launch Service 5

Launch Date: April 28, 2008 at 03:54:51 UTC
Launch Vehicle: Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C9)
Separation System: XPOD GNB
Spacecraft Complement: NTS (Canada)
NTS was a responsive space mission developed by COM DEV Ltd. and UTIAS/SFL.  UTIAS/SFL arranged for the accommodation of an additional XPOD GNB carrying NTS on PSLV-C9 only a few months from the launch date. UTIAS/SFL led the integration and launch campaign.

Nanosatellite Launch Service 6

AISSat-1 inside XPOD15G mounted on PSLV-C15

AISSat-1 inside XPOD15G mounted on PSLV-C15

Launch Date:July 12, 2010 at 3:52:00 UTC
Launch Vehicle: Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C15)
Separation System: XPOD GNB, XPOD Single
Spacecraft Complement: AISSat-1 (Norway/Canada), TIsat-1 (Switzerland)
AISSat-1 (SFL-built nanosatellite for Norwegian Defence Research Establishment) and TIsat-1 (University of Applied Sciences of Southern Switzerland) were launched on PSLV-C15 into a 635-km sun-sychronous orbit with 09:30 LTDN.

Nanosatellite Launch Service 7

Launch Date: 2014
Launch Vehicle: Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)
Separation System:  XPOD GNB (x2)
Spacecraft Complement: CanX-4 and CanX-5 (Canada)
NLS-7 will carry the twin-spacecraft CanX-4 and CanX-5 formation flying mission.

Nanosatellite Launch Service 8

NLS-8 spacecraft

NLS-8 spacecraft

Launch Date: February 25, 2013 at 12:31:00 UTC
Launch Vehicle: Antrix Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C20)
Separation System: XPOD GNB, XPOD Single
Spacecraft Complement: UniBRITE (SFL-built nanosatellite for University of Vienna), BRITE-Austria (SFL-designed, assembled in Austria), AAUSAT3 (Denmark)
UTIAS/SFL launched three spacecraft as part of NLS-8. The lead spacecraft in this launch is the SFL-built UniBRITE (University of Vienna) and the SFL-designed BRITE-Austria (TU Graz) astronomy nanosatellites. The third spacecraft was AAUSAT3 (Aalborg University, Denmark). All three were launched into a 785-km SSO with 06:00 LTDN.

Nanosatellite Launch Service 9

Launch Date: 07:10:11 UTC, 21 November 2013.
Launch Vehicle: Dnepr
Separation System: XPOD GNB, XPOD H27, XPOD Double-M2
Spacecraft Complement: BRITE-PL1 (SFL-designed, assembled in Poland), WNISat-1 (Japan), GOMX-1 (Denmark)

Nanosatellite Launch Service 11

Launch Date: 2014
Launch Vehicle: Dnepr
Separation System: XPOD GNB
Spacecraft Complement: BRITE-Toronto (Canada), BRITE-Montreal (Canada)

Nanosatellite Launch Service 12

Launch Date: 2014/2015
Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-2.1b/Fregat – Meteor M No.2
Separation System: XPOD GNB
Spacecraft Complement: AISSat-2 (SFL-built nanosatellite for Norwegian Defence Research Establishment)

Future Launch Service Opportunities

UTIAS/SFL negotiates new cluster launches every year, and invites other developers around the world to contact us for launch sharing opportunities.

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