SSL developing robotic sample handling assembly for NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Mars 2020 Project

PASADENA, CA, Feb. 29, 2016 /CNW/ - Space Systems Loral (SSL), a leading provider of commercial satellites, today announced 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."

The SHA robotic arm will be attached within the forward end of the Mars 2020 rover, which will investigate a site on Mars that is thought to have once been habitable. The arm will be part of an Adaptive Caching Assembly which will manipulate, assess, encapsulate, store, and release collected Martian soil and rock samples.

SSL robotics have the capability to provide extreme accuracy and the cleanliness required for working with soil and rock samples. The SHA arm for JPL will be designed to operate under extreme temperature variations within a dirty and dusty environment. The SSL hardware will be used for engineering testing, qualification testing, and deployment on Mars.

According to JPL, the Mars 2020 Project is designed to advance high-priority science goals for Mars exploration, and the mission will address key questions about the potential for life on Mars.

SSL has the ability to build on robotics technologies proven on the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station, and Mars landers and rovers.  The company also recently announced other work with JPL and is the industry partner for a potential NASA Discovery Mission to the asteroid Psyche and to participate in a first phase study for a spacecraft bus for NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission.

About SSL

SSL, a subsidiary of MDA, is a leading provider of commercial satellites with broad expertise to support satellite operators and innovative space related missions. The company designs and manufactures spacecraft for services such as direct-to-home television, video content distribution, broadband Internet, mobile communications, and Earth observation. As a Silicon Valley innovator for more than 50 years, SSL's advanced product line also includes state-of-the-art small satellites, and sophisticated robotics and automation solutions for remote operations. For more information, visit

About MDA

MDA is a global communications and information company providing operational solutions to commercial and government organizations worldwide.

MDA's business is focused on markets and customers with strong repeat business potential, primarily in the Communications sector and the Surveillance and Intelligence sector. In addition, the Company conducts a significant amount of advanced technology development.

MDA's established global customer base is served by more than 4,800 employees operating from 11 locations in the United States, Canada, and internationally.

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.'s (MDA) common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "MDA."

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Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains forward-looking statements and information, which reflect the current view of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. and its subsidiaries (collectively "MDA" or the "Company") with respect to future events, financial performance and operational capabilities. The forward-looking statements in this regard include statements regarding the design, operational capabilities and future performance of technology for use in an extraterrestrial environment. Any such forward-looking statements are based on MDA's current expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions in light of its experience and its perception of historical trends. The factors and assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements in this release include the relationship with existing partners not being terminated and the continued support of the Discovery Missions by NASA. Any such forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations. MDA cautions readers that should certain risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary significantly from those expected. The risks that could cause actual results to differ from current expectations include changes in government or government agency priorities, mandates, policies, funding levels, contracts and regulations; failure of third parties and subcontractors; risks associated with the design, development and operation of technology for use in an extraterrestrial environment; and failure of systems to meet performance requirements and technical standards.

For additional information with respect to certain of these risks or factors, plus additional risks or factors, reference should be made to the Company's continuous disclosure materials filed from time to time with Canadian securities regulatory authorities, which are available online under the Company's profile at or on the Company's website at

The Toronto Stock Exchange has neither approved nor disapproved the form or content of this release.

SOURCE MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.

For further information: Wendy Keyzer, MDA External Relations, (604) 231-2743,


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