PALO ALTO, CA, Feb. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - 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.
Space Systems Loral (SSL) 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.
This news release contains forward-looking statements and information, which reflect the current view of Space Systems Loral (SSL) with respect to future events and financial performance. When used in this news release, the words "believes", "expects", "plans", "may", "will", "would", "could", "should", "anticipates", "estimates", "project", "intend" or "outlook" or other variations of these words or other similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements and information. Actual results may differ materially from the expectations expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements as a result of known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Known risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to: risks associated with operating satellites and providing satellite services, including satellite construction or launch delays, launch failures, in-orbit failures or impaired satellite performance; risks associated with satellite manufacturing, including competition, cyclicality of SSL's end-user markets, contractual risks, creditworthiness of customers, performance of suppliers and management of SSL's factory and personnel; risk associated with financial factors such as volatility in exchange rates, increases in interest rates, restrictions on access to capital, and swings in global financial markets; risks associated with domestic and foreign government regulation, including export controls and economic sanctions; and other risks, including litigation. The foregoing list of important factors is not exhaustive. The information contained in this news release reflects SSL's beliefs, assumptions, intentions, plans and expectations as of the date of this news release. Except as required by law, SSL disclaims any obligation or undertaking to update or revise the information herein.