Nasa and SSL complete preliminary design review of robot that will fix satellites

Space Systems Loral says it successfully completed the preliminary design review for Nasa’s Restore-L mission to provide satellite servicing in low earth orbit. 

With the completion of the preliminary design review, Restore-L is proceeding on schedule to the next phase of development and its launch in 2020.

As announced last year, SSL is working with Nasa Goddard Space Flight Center’s Satellite Servicing Projects Division, to build a spacecraft that will change the nature of how infrastructure in space is managed by, for the first time in history, refueling a satellite in orbit that was not designed for servicing.  Continue reading Nasa and SSL complete preliminary design review of robot that will fix satellites

MDA recognized by Nasa for robotic servicing of International Space Station

nasa ssl robotic spacecraft to fix satellites
Artist’s illustration of the robotic spacecraft which will float around in space, fixing satellites. Picture courtesy of SSL

MDA US Systems, a division of MDA managed by SSL, has been recognized by Nasa’s Johnson Space Center for its “outstanding support” of a robotic upgrade to the International Space Station’s power system which took place in January.

The MDA team based in Houston played a critical role in planning and validating the robotic maneuvering both before and during the mission.

Nasa JSC ground controllers used the 15-degrees-of-freedom Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator (Dextre) arm to install six new 430-pound lithium-ion batteries in two power channel integrated electronics assembly pallets.

Dextre first removed 12 older and depleted 740-pound nickel-hydrogen batteries from the pallets, nine of which were put on the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle’s external pallet to burn up on re-entry with it.  Continue reading MDA recognized by Nasa for robotic servicing of International Space Station

SSL selected to partner with Darpa to develop satellite servicing business

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Space Systems Loral, a leading provider of innovative satellites and spacecraft systems, today announced it has been selected by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop the capability to service and maintain spacecraft and other infrastructure in the geostationary arc.

Darpa’s Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites program is expected to be the foundation of a new business for SSL that will serve both commercial and government operators with repair, upgrade, relocation, and refueling of on-orbit assets.

Howard Lance, chief executive officer, SSL MDA Holdings, says: “This will be SSL’s first spacecraft contract with the Department of Defense in recent years and it is the third time that we have been selected by the US government for a major program in just two months, following our recent selections for Nasa’s Restore-L and Psyche missions.

“It clearly demonstrates the success of our strategy to bring the benefits of our commercial business to a broader audience and to grow our business with US government work.”  Continue reading SSL selected to partner with Darpa to develop satellite servicing business

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

Telesat awards SSL contract to build Ka-band satellite for global LEO constellation

Space Systems Loral has been awarded a contract from Telesat, one of the world’s top satellite operators, for a prototype Ka-band satellite that Telesat expects to launch into Low Earth Orbit next year as part of the test and demonstration phase for a global constellation that Telesat is now designing. 

“The prototype spacecraft we are providing to Telesat demonstrates the versatility of our LEO capability,” says John Celli, president of SSL.

“Our focus on low cost production has enabled SSL to win a growing range of satellite contracts. Telesat is a long term SSL customer and we look forward to supporting them in their test and demonstration phase.”  Continue reading Telesat awards SSL contract to build Ka-band satellite for global LEO constellation

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.

SSL developing robotic sample handling assembly for NASA Mars 2020 Project

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Space Systems Loral (SSL) says it will design and build a robotic Sample Handling Assembly (SHA) for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) through MDA US Systems, a division of MDA, managed by SSL.

The arm will be used on a rover vehicle exploring Mars to process and store samples acquired from the planet’s surface.

“Our space-proven technology positions SSL well to help support JPL’s robotic space exploration activities,” said Nick Zello, director, emerging markets operations.

“As an industry partner we bring cost-effective solutions and a highly responsive and flexible environment to assist NASA in its mission to bring the world new insights and discoveries.” Continue reading SSL developing robotic sample handling assembly for NASA Mars 2020 Project

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