Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) will highlight the upcoming Canadian Gray Jay Pathfinder R&D smallsat project at CANSEC 2019 in Ottawa on stand 1036 — this event is being held fro May 30 to 31 in the EY Centre in Ottawa, Canada.
Gray Jay is a formation flying smallsat 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.
In August of 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.
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 LEO 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 smallsats with more than 100 cumulative years of successful operation in orbit. Many of these missions have included SFL’s trusted attitude control and formation-flying technologies.