Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Communications Satellite Pathfinder
On July 18, 2023, Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, successfully launched LEO 3, a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) demonstration satellite, for Telesat Canada, one of the world’s largest and most innovative satellite operators.
The satellite will provide continuity for customer and ecosystem vendor testing campaigns following the decommissioning of Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite. Once on-station, LEO 3 will operate under an existing ITU network filing for Telesat Lightspeed, the company’s enterprise-class LEO constellation.
“We’re excited to partner with SFL, who has a proven track record for building high-performing satellite platforms – on time and within budget,” stated Dave Wendling, Telesat’s Chief Technical Officer. “LEO 3 will serve an important role for low-latency customer applications testing, and for supporting LEO antenna and modem development efforts in advance of our Telesat Lightspeed satellite deployment.”
SFL has developed LEO 3 on its popular DEFIANT microsatellite platform, a cost-effective design that supports demanding missions without sacrificing performance. LEO 3 is a compact microsatellite measuring 30x30x45 cm with a mass of 30 kg. More than a dozen DEFIANT satellites developed for SFL clients are now in orbit serving applications ranging from maritime ship tracking to radio frequency signal mapping.
“DEFIANT is a scalable platform with the power capabilities and versatility to support a variety of mission objectives, yet it is compact enough to keep launch costs at a manageable level for commercial programs,” said SFL Director Dr. Robert E. Zee. “SFL is pleased that our microspace technology can be the enabler for Telesat to achieve its demonstration goals for high bandwidth operations in LEO.”