Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) wins contract with Norwegian Space Agency for construction of NorSat-4 marine tracking microsatellite


Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) wins contract with Norwegian Space Agency for construction of NorSat-4 marine tracking microsatellite

Press release from: Space Flight Laboratory
Posted: Monday August 9 2021

The Norwegian Space Agency (NOSA) awarded a contract to the Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) for the construction of the NorSat-4 maritime tracking microsatellite. NorSat-4 will be the eighth satellite developed by SFL for Norway, comprising NorSat-3 launched in April 2021 and the NorSat Technology Demonstrator (NorSat-TD) currently under construction.

Similar to NorSat-1, -2 and -3, NorSat-4 will be built on SFL’s DEFIANT microsatellite platform (a variant of the NEMO platform that uses a separation system and not a distributor) and will carry a ship Receiver Tracking Automatic Identification System (AIS) developed by Kongsberg Seatex. A major new addition on NorSat-4 will be a low light imaging camera.

“SFL is delighted to play a pivotal role in the NorSat program as NOSA continues to innovate as a world leader in monitoring vessel traffic from space,” said SFL Director Dr Robert E. Zee .

To develop the miniature low-light camera, the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment (FFI) contracted Safran Reosc from France. This powerful device will detect ships over 30 meters in length in arctic waters, which are dark most of the year.

“NOSA looks forward to adding the capabilities of NorSat-4 to the current fleet of maritime surveillance satellites and supporting the demonstration of the latest FFI technologies and techniques to create a better understanding of maritime traffic for Norwegian users,” said declared the head of the Microsatellite program at NOSA. , Lene Marthinsen.

SFL has a long history of developing microspatial ship-tracking missions for Norway, starting with the AISSat-1 nanosatellite launched in 2010. It has determined that reception of AIS signals in orbit is indeed feasible. AISSat-1 proved to be so robust that Norway quickly put it into service as an operational ship-tracking mission. Subsequently, other AISSats were launched, followed by a new range of higher capacity microsatellites – the NorSats – all developed by SFL with payloads supplied by the customer.

SFL is a single microspatial supplier that offers a full line of nano-, micro- and small satellites – including high performance and cost effective CubeSats – that meet the needs of a wide range of mission types ranging from 3 to 500 kilograms. . Dating back to 1998, SFL’s successful in-orbit legacy includes 72 satellites and separate missions related to Earth observation, atmospheric surveillance, ship tracking, communication, radio frequency (RF) geolocation, demonstration technology, space astronomy, solar physics, space plasma and other scientific research.

During its 23-year history, SFL has developed CubeSats, nanosatellites and microsatellites which have accumulated more than 150 years of operation in orbit. These microspatial missions included SFL confidence attitude control and, in some cases, formation flight capabilities. Other core components developed by SFL include modular (upgradeable) power systems, on-board radios, flight computers, and control software.

About the Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) (

SFL generates greater returns from smaller, less expensive satellites. The small satellites built by SFL are constantly pushing the limits of performance and disrupting the traditional cost paradigm. The satellites are built with advanced power systems, rigorous attitude control, and high volume data capability that is striking compared to the budget. SFL organizes global launches and maintains a mission control center with access to ground stations around the world. SFL’s pioneering and groundbreaking work is a key catalyst for the high-cost satellite constellations of tomorrow. (

Download here the technical sheet of all SFL platforms.

Dr Robert E. Zee
SFL Director
[email protected]
Follow SFL on Twitter @SFL_SmallerSats

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