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NASA chooses SSL to provide spacecraft for Restore-L servicing mission

SSL has been selected to provide a spacecraft bus for NASA's Restore-L servicing mission.
SSL has been selected to provide a spacecraft bus for NASA’s Restore-L servicing mission.

Canada: MDA has announced that SSL, the U.S. division of the Canada-based corporation, has been awarded a contract by NASA, to provide a spacecraft bus for its Restore-L servicing mission. The Restore-L mission will demonstrate the ability to extend the life of a satellite in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), and is scheduled to launch in 2020.

The contract includes a three-year core period and a two-year indefinite-delivery portion. The total maximum contract value of the contract is US $127 million (approximately CA$170 million).

“This award from NASA is a key milestone and evidence of our growth potential in providing space solutions to the U.S. government,” said Howard L. Lance, president and chief executive officer of MDA. It clearly validates the MDA U.S. access strategy and demonstrates meaningful progress in building business relationships with key U.S. government agencies. As a leader in the commercial satellite market, SSL is well positioned to deliver innovative solutions to U.S. civilian, defense and intelligence agencies going forward.”

“The facility security clearance process with the U.S. Department of Defense is very near completion,” Lance added. “MDA has executed all the documents required to enter into the Security Control Agreement with the U.S. government and we expect to complete the process in the first quarter of 2017.”

The Restore-L spacecraft will use robotics to grasp, refuel and relocate an existing U.S. government satellite already in LEO orbit with the goal of demonstrating tools, technologies and techniques that can be implemented on future government and commercial missions.  The SSL spacecraft bus will provide the structure and power to support the mission.

“We are very pleased to work with NASA to provide a high-performance spacecraft platform that will help make next-generation satellite servicing a reality,” said John Celli, president of SSL. “This mission will be a breakthrough in the way we think about satellites on orbit, which previously could not be touched after launch.”

The SSL 1300 is a large, powerful and reliable platform that has the flexibility to serve a broad range of missions ranging from space exploration to commercial communications.  With more than 80 SSL 1300s on orbit today, it is the world’s most popular spacecraft platform and it comes with a very predictable schedule and fixed price driven by the demands of the highly competitive spacecraft market.

Restore-L is being conducted under the Technology Demonstration Mission for the Space Technology Mission Directorate and NASA Headquarters.  SSL is contributing to a variety of other next-generation U.S. government missions, including the Dragonfly mission for NASA and DARPA, which will demonstrate on-orbit satellite assembly.