Nasa places order with SSL for robotic spacecraft which will fix satellites in orbit

New craft will be used to service satellites out in space 

Nasa has placed an order with Space Systems Loral for a robotic spacecraft which will go and fix satellites while in orbit. 

Nasa calls it the Restore-L servicing mission, and it is designed to demonstrate the ability to extend the life of a satellite in Low Earth Orbit. Scheduled launch is in 2020.

The Restore-L spacecraft will use robotics to grasp, refuel and relocate an existing US government satellite already in LEO orbit with the goal of demonstrating tools, technologies and techniques that can be implemented on future government and commercial missions.  Continue reading Nasa places order with SSL for robotic spacecraft which will fix satellites in orbit

SSL to provide robotic arms to Darpa for satellite servicing

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SSL artist rendering robotic arms. Source: Darpa (PRNewsFoto/SSL)

Space Systems Loral (SSL), a provider of innovative satellites and spacecraft systems, has received $20.7 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) to design and build robotic arm flight hardware for the first phase of the agency’s Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program.

SSL is receiving the funds through MDA US Systems, a division of MDA managed by SSL, and is working with the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), which is the prime contractor managing the program.

The contract is for two complete robotic arm systems, which would be able to carefully capture and berth with satellites that were not previously designed for docking.  Continue reading SSL to provide robotic arms to Darpa for satellite servicing

SSL to build low earth orbit satellite for new customer

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Space Systems Loral, a provider of commercial satellites, has been awarded a contract to provide a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite to an undisclosed customer.

In addition to building the satellite, SSL will also provide the launch and will operate the satellite on orbit.

“Our production of innovative small satellites is growing in both size and diversity,” said John Celli, president of SSL.

SSL’s manufacturing facility for small satellite production provides lower cost and faster production time than has been typical for satellite manufacturing in the past. With this contract award SSL now has 21 LEO satellites under construction.

Robot submarines to be given live data link to satellites to help them navigate

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The UK is developing technology to connect robotic submarines to satellites to help them find their way around the world’s oceans.

The UK’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC) is to form part of the new Centres of Excellence in Satellite applications, which is expected to aid economic growth in the Solent region, the waters off the southern coast of the country, near Portsmouth.

As part of this new centre the NOC will develop the technologies to help robot-subs use live satellite data to inform their route through the ocean, not unlike drivers using live traffic updates. Continue reading Robot submarines to be given live data link to satellites to help them navigate

Asteroids hurtling towards Earth. Nasa readies SSL robots

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This concept images shows ARM robotic capture Option B, in which the robotic vehicle ascends from the surface of a large asteroid, on its way to a lunar distant retrograde orbit with a smaller asteroid mass in its clutches.

Earth is under constant attack from alien rocks, apparently. Now, NASA has decided to do something about it 

Space Systems Loral (SSL), a provider of commercial satellites, has received a contract from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to conduct first phase design studies for a spacecraft that can travel to an asteroid, remove a boulder, and redirect it into a lunar orbit to prepare it for a visit by astronauts in the 2020’s.

In keeping with NASA’s strategy to leverage commercially available capabilities, SSL’s spacecraft design for the Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (ARRM) will be based on its popular commercial geostationary (GEO) satellite, which combines power, propulsion and value. There are currently 80 SSL GEO spacecraft in orbit.

“SSL is pleased to have this opportunity to work with JPL on the Asteroid Redirect Mission,” said John Celli, president of SSL. “We look forward to applying our proven technologies, including our very successful experience delivering high power satellites with electric propulsion systems for our commercial GEO customers, to help JPL reduce risks and meet the cost target for this exciting mission.” Continue reading Asteroids hurtling towards Earth. Nasa readies SSL robots