Blog Articles

Blog – SFL Serving Both NewSpace and MicroSpace Missions

Last week, we announced our new line of cost-effective performance CubeSats to complement our legacy suite of smaller satellites, enabling SFL to meet the evolving needs of missions spanning 3kg to 500+kg in mass. As part of the CubeSat announcement, we also released details of our new NewSpace (accelerated) development option, which speeds procedures to get a mission into orbit more quickly.

We made the CubeSat and NewSpace Option announcement together to emphasize SFL’s commitment to serving as a comprehensive provider of smaller satellite missions. In today’s era of NewSpace programs, this means we can deliver disruptive, proof-of-concept CubeSats or CubeSat constellations based on rapid replenishment strategies, while also delivering long-lifetime free-form satellites and satellite constellations through our standard microspace approach.

CubeSats and their evolving standards have become important platforms for certain disruptive missions and rapid replenishment missions because their common form factors allow them to use commercially available deployers and aggregate en masse for lower launch cost per satellite compared to free-form satellites.. The standardization of CubeSat dimensions has resulted in the widespread availability of relatively inexpensive, mass-produced deployers (or dispensers) of varying sizes that greatly simplify integration with, and release from, the launch vehicle. Moreover, the expansion of the CubeSat standard to include 6U, 12U and 16U sizes has opened up the range of applications that may be served by CubeSats.

For demonstration missions or rapid replenishment missions, timing is frequently just as critical as cost. This is why we have created the optional accelerated, or NewSpace, approach to the construction, integration and testing of our CubeSats. Many operators, especially in the NewSpace arena, need to get their demo satellites into orbit quickly to stave off competition and secure additional funding. NewSpace companies that adopt the rapid replenishment strategy in their business models also need quick turnaround and mass production. That’s what our NewSpace process accomplishes.

It is important to stress, however, that SFL’s core avionics and attitude control developed over the past 22 years go into every satellite we develop, regardless of size or process. At the same time, we augment our core with new commercial technologies as they become available to maximize performance.
So, for those of you keeping track at home, here is the complete line-up of SFL smaller satellite platforms:

  • 3U THUNDER – 3-6kg Performance CubeSat
  • 6U SPARTAN – 6-12kg Performance CubeSat
  • 12U or 16U JAEGER – 12-24kg Performance CubeSat
  • NEMO – 15-20kg Nanosatellite
  • DEFIANT – 20-50kg Microsatellite
  • NAUTILUS – up to 150kg Microsatellite
  • DAUNTLESS – up to 500kg Small Satellite