Home News Space Flight Laboratory highlights microspace earth observation missions

Space Flight Laboratory highlights microspace earth observation missions

Canada: Space Flight Laboratory (SFL), celebrating 100 cumulative years of on-orbit nano- and microsatellite operations, will highlight present and future microspace remote sensing missions at the 12th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation. SFL is a specialty lab building satellites professionally at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS).

On May 6, SFL’s Laura M. Bradbury will present, “On-Orbit Greenhouse Gas Emissions Monitoring with the GHGSat Constellation.” The paper discusses the GHGSat-D microsatellite built by SFL and launched in 2016 by GHGSat Inc. to demonstrate the detection of point sources of greenhouse gases from orbit. The successful mission resulted in SFL’s being contracted to develop GHGSat-C1 and -C2 for commercial operations.

The paper is co-authored by Michael Ligori, Robert Spina, and Robert E. Zee, all of SFL, and Stephane Germain of GHGSat Inc. in Montreal.

SFL established itself as the go-to provider of nano- and microsatellites for Earth observation applications by developing break-through attitude control technologies for smaller satellites. As a greater challenge for smaller satellites of low mass, attitude control is a necessity for precise pointing of onboard sensors at Earth.

“Accurate attitude control capabilities and precise pointing have resulted in our developing numerous microspace missions for environmental monitoring and remote sensing,” said Zee.

In addition to the two commercial GHGSat microsatellites, SFL is developing two atmospheric monitoring satellites and one optical remote sensing satellite at its Toronto facility. These include the DMSat-1 aerosol and greenhouse gas monitoring microsatellite contracted by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in Dubai, and Slovenia’s first Earth observation satellite, NEMO-HD which will be launched later this year. NEMO-HD is a compact microsatellite capable of 2.8m (actual) resolution, multispectral, high-definition imaging and video.

SFL was established in 1998 as a self-sustaining specialty lab at UTIAS to provide end-to-end microspace services on tight schedules and at low cost to deliver significant returns for clients around the world. Over two decades, SFL has developed 25 nano- and microsatellites that have been launched for space science, Earth observation, communication, radio frequency geolocation, environmental monitoring, technology demonstration, and ship detection.