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WASHINGTON — Canadian startup Kepler Communications launched Sept. 28 the first two satellites built in its own facility as the company ramps up its plans to deploy a constellation for data and Internet of Things services.

The two six-unit XL cubesats, known as Kepler-4 and Kepler-5 but nicknamed Antilles and Amidala, were among the 15 smallsat secondary payloads brokered by Exolaunch that launched on a Soyuz-2.1b from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia at 7:20 a.m. Eastern. The primary payload for the launch was a trio of Gonets satellites for the Russian government.

The two Kepler satellites are the first “GEN1” satellites for the company after the launch of three prototypes, two in 2018 and the third Sept. 2 on a Vega dedicated rideshare mission. The three prototypes were built in cooperation with AAC Clyde Space.

The new GEN1 satellites, however, were built by Kepler at a satellite manufacturing facility

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