Telesat selects Space Flight Laboratory to manufacture LEO 3 demonstration satellite

Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA

OTTAWA and TORONTO, May 30, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Telesat (NASDAQ and TSX: TSAT), one of the world’s largest and most innovative satellite operators, today announced a contract award to Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) of Toronto, Ontario to manufacture a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) demonstration satellite for Telesat.

The demonstration satellite, named LEO 3, will provide continuity for customer and ecosystem vendor testing campaigns following the decommissioning of Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite. Once successfully launched and 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 as 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 is developing LEO 3 on its popular DEFIANT microsatellite platform, a cost-effective design that supports demanding missions without sacrificing performance. The completed LEO 3 will be 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.”

LEO 3 is nearing completion at SFL following a relatively aggressive development schedule. SFL has integrated the communications payload with the LEO 3 bus and successfully completed vibration and electromagnetic compatibility testing of the spacecraft. Additional tests are ongoing.

SFL’s 25-year heritage includes 65 operational successes, with an additional 27 under development or awaiting launch. Missions support a wide range of applications related to Earth observation, atmospheric monitoring, ship tracking, communication, radio frequency (RF) geolocation, technology demonstration, space astronomy, solar physics, space plasma, and other scientific research.

About Telesat

Backed by a legacy of engineering excellence, reliability and industry-leading customer service, Telesat (NASDAQ and TSX: TSAT) is one of the largest and most innovative global satellite operators. Telesat works collaboratively with its customers to deliver critical connectivity solutions that tackle the world’s most complex communications challenges, providing powerful advantages that improve their operations and drive profitable growth.

Continuously innovating to meet the connectivity demands of the future, Telesat Lightspeed, the company’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network, will be the first and only LEO network optimized to meet the rigorous requirements of telecom, government, maritime and aeronautical customers. Telesat Lightspeed will redefine global satellite connectivity with ubiquitous, affordable, high-capacity links with fibre-like speeds. For updates on Telesat, follow us @Telesat on Twitter, LinkedIn, or visit

About Space Flight Laboratory (SFL)

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 satellites and constellations. Follow SFL on Twitter @SFL_SmallerSats or visit

Media contacts:

Lynette Simmons
+1 613 748 8729

Dr. Robert E. Zee
SFL Director

Forward-Looking Statements Safe Harbor

This news release contains statements that are not based on historical fact, including financial outlook for 2023 and the growth opportunities and expected timing around the financing of Telesat Lightspeed, and are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and Canadian securities laws. When used herein, statements which are not historical in nature, or which contain the words “will,” “can,” “planned,” or similar expressions, are forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from the expectations expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements as a result of known and unknown risks and uncertainties. All statements made in this press release are made only as of the date set forth at the beginning of this release. Telesat Corporation undertakes no obligation to update the information made in this release in the event facts or circumstances subsequently change after the date of this press release.

These forward-looking statements are based on Telesat Corporation’s current expectations and are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond Telesat Corporation’s control, are difficult to predict, and could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or forecasted in the forward-looking statements. Known risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to: inflation and rising interest rates; risks associated with operating satellites and providing satellite services, including satellite construction or launch delays, launch failures, in-orbit failures or impaired satellite performance; the ability to deploy successfully an advanced global LEO satellite constellation, and the timing of any such deployment; the availability of government and/or other funding for the LEO satellite constellation; the receipt of additional proceeds in relation to the re-allocation of C-band spectrum; volatility in exchange rates; the ability to expand Telesat Corporation’s existing satellite utilization; and risks associated with domestic and foreign government regulation. The foregoing list of important factors is not exhaustive. Investors should review the other risk factors discussed in Telesat Corporation’s annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2022, that was filed on March 29, 2023, with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and the Canadian securities regulatory authorities at the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval (“SEDAR”), and may be accessed on the SEC’s website at and SEDAR’s website at

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

LEO 3 Artist Rendering