Space Flight Laboratory to Highlight ˜Gray Jay' Arctic Surveillance Microsatellite Project at CANSEC 2019

by | May 22, 2019

TORONTO, Ontario, Canada “ Space Flight Laboratory (SFL), a developer of microspace missions with more than 100 years of on-orbit operations, will highlight the upcoming Canadian Gray Jay Pathfinder R&D microsatellite project at CANSEC 2019 in Ottawa. Gray Jay is a formation flying microsatellite constellation being developed by SFL for the Department of National Defence's science and technology organization, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), to support Arctic surveillance technology demonstration under the All-Domain Situational Awareness (ADSA) program.


SFL will highlight publicly available information about the breakthrough Gray Jay project in Booth 1036 at CANSEC 2019, Canada's global defence and security trade show, being held May 30-31 in Ottawa's EY Centre.


In August 2018, the Government of Canada awarded Phase One of the C$15 million project to SFL to develop the Gray Jay microsatellites. SFL, a self-sustaining specialty lab established in 1998 at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS), is one of the world's leading developers of next-generation smaller satellites featuring advanced attitude control and formation-flying technology “ critical capabilities for the Gray Jay project.


Canada's Arctic region is vital, and SFL is honored to assist in creating next-generation microspace technology that could be used to monitor it, said SFL Director and Founder Dr. Robert E. Zee.


Surveillance solutions support the Government of Canada's ability to exercise sovereignty in the North and provide a greater awareness of safety and security issues, as well as transportation and commercial activity in Canada's Arctic. These objectives have been outlined in Canada's defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged.


The SFL microsatellites being developed for Gray Jay will include multiple sensors on a constellation of microsatellites operating in close formation in low Earth orbit to allow for quick and timely detection and identification of surface or airborne targets. These concurrently obtained sensor observations are expected to improve the responsiveness of detection and follow up, which may not be straightforward or timely when individual sensors are located on non-collaborating satellites.


SFL has built more than 25 nano- and microsatellites with over 100 cumulative years of successful operation in orbit. Many of these microspace missions have included SFL's trusted attitude control and formation-flying technologies.


About Space Flight Laboratory (

SFL generates bigger returns from smaller, lower cost satellites. Small satellites built by SFL consistently push the performance envelope and disrupt the traditional cost paradigm. Satellites are built with advanced power systems, stringent attitude control and high-volume data capacity that are striking relative to the budget. SFL arranges launches globally and maintains a mission control center accessing ground stations worldwide. The pioneering and barrier-breaking work of SFL is a key enabler to tomorrow's cost aggressive satellite constellations. (


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