PALO ALTO, CA, Oct. 22, 2015 /CNW/ - Space Systems/Loral (SSL), a leading provider of commercial satellites, today announced that it is the industrial partner for a project in the running to be NASA's next Discovery mission. SSL will work for Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to support Principal Investigator Dr. Lindy Elkins-Tanton, director of Arizona State University's (ASU) School of Earth and Space Exploration, in a mission to research Psyche, a massive asteroid made of iron and nickel, which is believed to be the only place in the solar system where a metal planetary core can be studied.
"The Psyche mission represents the first time that SSL will be the primary industrial partner for a Discovery-class NASA exploration mission," said John Celli, president of SSL. "This growing position as a supplier to NASA reflects our success in demonstrating how SSL can help the agency meet its goal of bringing the benefits of commercial industry to its missions."
Recent successes as a subsystems provider have helped SSL prove its value to NASA. The company provided the propulsion system for NASA's Lunar Atmosphere Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft, which successfully ended its 100-day mission in 2014.
The NASA Discovery Program goal is to deepen the knowledge of our solar system by launching modest cost-capped missions on a routine cadence. The Psyche mission concept was one of five selected for comprehensive study via Phase A contracts.
SSL will support JPL, working within a multi-institution team to conduct concept design studies and analyses. Based on the results, in late 2016 NASA will select one or two of the five Discovery missions for flight, to launch in the early 2020s.
For the Psyche mission, SSL would provide the "power-propulsion chassis," a highly capable composite structure spacecraft bus equipped with a high-power electric propulsion system. The basic spacecraft design has been proven on 100 missions, and it will have the performance to deliver the science package and beam back the results.
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 www.sslmda.com.
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."
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 certain elements of the Company's spacecraft bus and propulsion technology. 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 to enter into associated follow-on contracts; failure of third parties and subcontractors; risks associated with the design, development and operation of technology for use in an extraterrestrial environment; failure of systems to meet performance requirements and technical standards; and failure to anticipate changes in technology.
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