PALO ALTO, CA, Feb. 25, 2016 /CNW/ - Space Systems Loral (SSL), a leading provider of commercial satellites, today announced that it 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 on orbit today.
"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."
The goal of the Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (ARRM) is to demonstrate the use of a solar electric propulsion based spacecraft to move and maneuver large payloads, including a boulder of up to 20 tons, as a proving ground for future human spaceflight to Mars. SSL is one of four companies that received contracts from JPL for design studies for the spacecraft for this mission. Its extensive experience with solar electric propulsion includes 18 spacecraft on orbit today, the first of which launched in 2004.
JPL is leading the ARRM project in collaboration with NASA's Glenn Research Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, Langley Research Center and Johnson Space Center.
SSL is also working as an industry partner to JPL to study the use of its spacecraft bus for a project that is in the running to be NASA's next Discovery mission and would explore the metal asteroid called Psyche. Previously, SSL demonstrated the value and reliability of commercial industry when it provided NASA Ames with a propulsion system for the highly successful Lunar Atmosphere Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), which completed its mission in 2014.
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 a design study for conceptual spacecraft technologies. 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 NASA not being terminated. 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, but are not limited to: 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; failure of systems to meet performance requirements and technical standards; and failure to anticipate changes in technology.
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SOURCE MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.
For further information: Wendy Keyzer, MDA External Relations, (604) 231-2743, email@example.com