|Founded||1957 as Philco WDL|
|Headquarters||Palo Alto, California, USA|
Number of employees
SSL designs and builds satellites and space systems for a wide variety of government and commercial customers. Its products include high-powered direct-to-home broadcast satellites, commercial weather satellites, digital audio radio satellites, Earth observation satellites and spot-beam satellites for data networking applications.
History [ edit ]
The company was founded as the Western Development Laboratories (WDL) of Philco (Philco-Ford since 1966). The Space Systems Division was made a stand-alone Division of Aeronutronic/Ford Aerospace/ and was acquired by Loral Corp. in 1990 for $715 million from Ford Motor Company, and renamed Space Systems/Loral. All other divisions of Ford Aerospace including Western Development Labs now located in San Jose were also acquired by Loral at that time.
Projects [ edit ]
In 1960, the Courier 1B, built by then Philco, became the world's first active repeater satellite.
SSL has recently pioneered research in electric propulsion systems, lithium-ion power systems and the use of advanced composites on commercial satellites, which permit significant increases in the size and power of a satellite's payload and extends the satellite's on-orbit lifetime. SSL also has developed new service-enhancing technologies such as super power systems for direct-to-user applications and ground-based beam forming, a technology that uses both satellite and terrestrial assets to provide mobile users with increased coverage and capacity capabilities.
1300 Series Platform [ edit ]
SSL manufactures satellites based on its SSL 1300 series platform (previously LS-1300, FS-1300) in Palo Alto. Satellites in the series include ProtoStar I, ICO G1, SIRIUS FM-6 and SES NEW SKIES NSS-12. As of September 2015[update] there were 80 satellites based on the 1300 series platform on orbit, with 1 more ready for launch and 21 others under construction.
The company designed and built AsiaSat 8, which was launched on 5 August 2014, and AsiaSat 6, which went into orbit on 7 September 2014. The two satellite launches cost AsiaSat $110 million. The satellites were expected to last 15 years, and contain high-powered C-band transponders providing video and broadband services to the Asia-Pacific region.
COTS proposal [ edit ]
SSL and Constellation Services International have proposed a reusable space tug based on the 1300 platform and a pressure-fed, low-cost Aquarius Launch Vehicle. The tug would be used to bring supplies to the International Space Station as part of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program.
NASA eventually decided to pursue another proposal for this project. SSL, however, continues to provide Battery Orbital Replacement Units (ORUs), Battery Charge Discharge Units (BCDUs), and Sequential Shunt Units (SSUs) for the ISS.
LADEE Mission [ edit ]
SSL designed and delivered a propulsion system based on their 1300 platform for the NASA LADEE mission. On April 17, 2014, between 9:30 p.m and 10:22 p.m. PDT, after successfully completing its goal to collect lunar dust and study the moon's atmosphere, NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft successfully completed a planned de-orbit, bringing an end to the mission to study the structure and composition of the thin lunar atmosphere. Using a private company to provide the propulsion system leverages the capability of commercially proven technology for U.S. Government missions.
Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites [ edit ]
In June 2017, SSL was awarded the contract to design and build the satellite servicing spacecraft vehicle for the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)’s Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program, which is designed to inspect, repair, and augment geosynchronous satellites and plans to include a refueling payload to extend the life of satellites that are low on propellant. SSL joined the Naval Research Laboratory, the Charles Draper Laboratory and Maxar's robotics divisions in Brampton, Ontario and Pasadena to develop the servicer. The servicer is designed to refuel commercial satellites, and global satellite operator SES is the first commercial customer to sign up to use the services for a satellite life extension mission.
In January 2019, SSL's decided to abandon its participation in the program because of financial difficulties. Continued participation in the program required the company to fund the cost of the development by more than the typical 33%.
Customers [ edit ]
SSL's customers include AsiaSat, Azercosmos, Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk. (BRI), Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation, Bulgaria Sat (Bulsatcom), DirecTV, EchoStar, Eutelsat, Globalstar, Google's Skybox Imaging, Hispasat, Hughes Network Systems, ICO Global Communications, Intelsat, Japan MTSAT, JSC Gascom, Loral Skynet, NASA/NOAA (GOES), nbn, Optus, PanAmSat, Pasifik Satelit Nusantara (PSN), QuetzSat, Satmex, SES S.A., SES World Skies, Shin Satellite, Singtel, Sirius Satellite Radio, Sky Perfect JSAT Corporation, Spainsat, Star One, Telenor, Telesat Canada, Thaicom, ViaSat, WildBlue, and XM Satellite Radio.
See also [ edit ]
- Aerospace manufacturer
- List of spacecraft manufacturers
- Technology companies based in the San Francisco Bay Area
References [ edit ]
This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- Kusiolek, Richard. "PM Justin Trudeau bails out Bombardier +$6.2 billion and Counting | Latest news on aerospace and defense technology | GMC Stream | Uncategorised". gmcstream.com. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
- "SSL-BUILT SATELLITE FOR DIRECTV BEGINS POST-LAUNCH MANEUVERS ACCORDING TO PLAN" (Press release). Retrieved 2015-03-18.
- "SSL-BUILT SATELLITE FOR INTELSAT BEGINS POST-LAUNCH MANEUVERS ACCORDING TO PLAN". 2015.
- "AsiaSat sends two satellites into space aboard Falcon 9 rocket". Florida Statesman. 7 September 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- "AsiaSat Selects Space Systems/Loral to Provide Two Communications Satellites" (Press release). Retrieved 2015-03-18.
- "Space Systems/Loral Proposes Bus for NASA's Cargo Needs" (Press release). Space News. 2007-12-10. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
- "CONSTELLATION SERVICES INTERNATIONAL AND SPACE SYSTEMS LORAL TEAM ON NASA COTS PROPOSAL USING A U.S. VERSION OF CSI'S LEO EXPRESSSM CARGO SYSTEM"(PDF) (Press release). Constellation Services International, Inc. 2007-12-11. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-02-26. Retrieved 2007-12-11.
- "International Space Station". Archived from the original on 2012-09-12.
- "NASA's LADEE MISSION". 2014.
- "NASA Completes LADEE Mission with Planned Impact on Moon's Surface". 2014.
- "SPACE SYSTEMS/LORAL PROVIDES ON TIME DELIVERY OF NASA PROPULSION SYSTEM" (Press release). Retrieved 2015-03-31.
- "SSL HIGHLIGHTS LADEE MISSION MILESTONES AND LASERCOMM PROGRESS, SUPPORTS NASA INITIATIVE TO PARTNER WITH INDUSTRY" (Press release). Retrieved 2015-03-31.
- "LADEE Project Manager Update" (Press release). Retrieved 2015-03-31.
- "MDA announces On-Orbit Satellite Servicing business formation and contract awards for spacecraft and first life extension customer" (Press release). MDA. June 28, 2017. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
- Erwin, Sandra (January 30, 2019). "Maxar's exit from DARPA satellite servicing program a cautionary tale". SpaceNews.