About SFL: Management Team

December 11, 2013

Dr. Robert E. Zee – Director, Space Flight Laboratory

Dr. Zee is the Director of the Space Flight Laboratory at UTIAS, and helped to establish the lab in 1998 in response to the opportunity to provide major contributions to the MOST microsatellite, Canada’s first space telescope. He was responsible for setting up numerous programs at SFL, and securing funding to develop new missions and new technologies that have enabled SFL to deliver some of the highest value space missions in the world. His responsibilities include strategic planning, business development, operations oversight, development practice, quality assurance policies, customer service, supervision, contract negotiation and management, finance and administration. In addition, he provides technical review, systems engineering input, and program guidance to the SFL staff. Dr. Zee also supervises graduate students with thesis topics related to microspace missions and technology under development at SFL. Dr. Zee has worked for Allied Signal Aerospace Company, Spar Aerospace Ltd., and IBM Canada Ltd. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Systems Design Engineering with a minor in Management Sciences from the University of Waterloo, and Master of Applied Science and PhD degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Toronto.

GrocottDr. Simon C. O. Grocott – Deputy Director, Missions

Dr. Grocott manages microsatellite projects, and provides program and systems engineering input to project managers at SFL. Dr. Grocott conducts monthly audits of projects and provides detailed technical review. He is responsible for overseeing the development and production practice at SFL to ensure consistent standards are maintained. He assists with administration, facilities management, and business development activities. Projects managed by Dr. Grocott include NEMO-AM, NEMO-HD, and SFL’s contribution to M3MSat. Prior to joining SFL, Dr. Grocott was Head of Systems Engineering at Astrium (UK). Prior to his experience at Astrium, he was Project Manager for MOST and Attitude Control Systems Manager at Dynacon Inc. Dr. Grocott also worked at MacDonald Dettwiler Space Robotics (formerly Spar Aerospace Ltd.) He obtained his Bachelor of Applied Science degree from the University of Toronto, and his Master and PhD degrees from MIT in Aeronautics and Astronautics.

freddy M. PRANAJAYAFreddy M. Pranajaya – Deputy Director, Innovation

Mr. Pranajaya manages a number of programs including SFL’s Next-generation Launch Service (NLS), Radiation Test Program, XPOD Development Program, New Instrument Research, and Propulsion System Research. He also assists with systems engineering in microsatellite projects at SFL. Mr. Pranajaya is involved in strategic planning and business development, and is responsible for the development of innovative mission concepts. Mr. Pranajaya obtained his Bachelor of Science degree at Worcester Polytechnic University, and his Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering at Stanford University. He has been with SFL since 2001.

beattie-headshotAlexander M. Beattie – Senior Mission Manager

Alex Beattie manages multiple missions and provides systems engineering input to SFL satellite projects. He is SFL’s lead communications engineer with expertise in communication systems and ground stations.  With a background in Aerospace Engineering, he joined the SFL team in 2001. He was MOST’s communications engineer, and designed major portions of the MOST spacecraft and ground station communication systems. He was also a core member of the assembly, test, and launch operations team. Subsequent to the launch of MOST, he developed innovative UHF and S-band radios and antennas for SFL satellites, and has been flight director on a number of different commissioning campaigns for various missions. He has been project manager and systems engineer for missions such as AISSat-1, AISSat-2 and NORSAT-1. Mr. Beattie graduated from Carleton University in Aerospace Engineering and obtained his Master of Applied Science degree from the University of Toronto.

SardaKaran Sarda – Mission Manager

Karan Sarda manages missions and is SFL’s lead attitude control engineer. He provides oversight to all attitude control engineers at SFL working on various satellite projects. Mr. Sarda ensures consistency between projects and exercises strict control over SFL’s attitude control simulator and flight software. Prior to his lead role in attitude control systems, Mr. Sarda was SFL’s lead thermal design engineer and completed detailed thermal analysis for a number of important space missions including but not limited to CanX-2, NTS and BRITE. Mr. Sarda also plays a leading role in the operation and maintenance of facilities and provides guidance to all spacecraft-level thermal vacuum test campaigns. Mr. Sarda holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Carleton University, and a Master of Applied Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Toronto. He has been on staff at SFL since 2004.

jlifshits_headshot-smallJakob Lifshits – Mission Manager

Since joining SFL in 2008, Jakob has played a major role on many of SFL’s satellite missions, both on-orbit and currently in development. In his position as Program Manager, Jakob’s responsibilities include oversight and management of all aspects of satellite programs, business development, and mentorship of staff and students. His expertise is in the fields of spacecraft systems design, embedded systems, electronic design, and software architecture. Jakob holds a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo, and a Master of Applied Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Toronto.

Brad Cotten – Mission Manager

Brad is mission manager and systems engineer for several satellite projects at SFL. He is also the lead thermal control engineer, providing thermal design review and guidance across all projects. In addition, Brad plays an important role in SFL business development efforts by evaluating mission concepts, completing preliminary spacecraft designs, and delivering technical proposals. Since joining SFL in 2012, Brad has contributed to over ten different satellite missions through project management, systems engineering, thermal design and analysis, spacecraft environmental testing, mechanical design, electronics design, and software development. His most significant contribution has been as the manager and systems engineer for SFL’s successful CanX-7 drag sail mission. Brad completed his Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Waterloo, and his Masters of Applied Science in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Toronto.

Benoit LaroucheBenoit Larouche – Mission Manager

Dr. Larouche manages missions at SFL with expertise in structural analysis, spacecraft assembly, and systems design. He has played a major role in many SFL missions, spanning from the 3U CanX-2 mission in 2008 to the 65 kg NEMO-HD earth observation mission launched in 2020. He has been a lead for new satellite platform and development, optical payload design and integration, spacecraft assembly and environmental testing, launch support and coordination, actuated mechanisms, and separation systems. Dr. Larouche has been part of SFL since 2006, obtaining his Master of Applied Science in 2008 from the University of Toronto, before leaving to obtain his Doctorate from York University and subsequently returning to SFL in 2013.

LATEST NEWS & BLOGS

Norwegian Space Agency Announces Launch of NorSat-3 Maritime Tracking Microsatellite Built by Space Flight Laboratory (SFL)
Apr 29 2021
Microspace Technology Enables All Countries to Reap the Benefits of National Earth Observation Programs
Apr 16 2021
Dubai Municipality Announces Launch of DMSat-1 Atmospheric Monitoring Microsatellite Built by Space Flight Laboratory (SFL)
Mar 22 2021
Dubai Municipality and MBRSC to launch region’s first environmental nanometric satellite on March 20
Mar 11 2021
Blog - Quality is Not Synonymous with Standards
Mar 03 2021
GHGSat-C2 Captures First Methane Plume a Week After Launch
Feb 20 2021
Norway Selects Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) to Develop Technology Demonstrator Microsatellite
Feb 16 2021
Slovenia Releases Color Image from NEMO-HD Microsatellite Built by Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) in Collaboration with SPACE-SI
Feb 08 2021
Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) Announces Successful Launch of 12 Satellites on SpaceX Ride-Sharing Mission
Jan 26 2021
Blog-Systems Engineering vs the CubeSat Kit
Jan 11 2021
HawkEye 360’s Cluster 2 Smallsats Ship To Cape Canaveral For Upcoming Launch
Jan 08 2021
SatTV interviews SFL’s Dr. Robert E. Zee
Nov 24 2020
Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) Awarded Contract by GHGSat Inc. to Build Three More Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Microsatellites
Nov 16 2020
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 - SFL Serving Both NewSpace and MicroSpace Missions
Jul 29 2020
Blog - AISSat-1 Maritime Vessel Tracking Nanosat Celebrates 10th Anniversary
Jul 22 2020
HAWKEYE 360 COMPLETES MILESTONE IN PREPARATION TO LAUNCH SECOND CLUSTER
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
View All News Articles View All Blog Articles
© 2014 University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies Space Flight Lab. All rights reserved.