SSL, a Maxar Technologies company (formerly MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.), and a leading provider of innovative satellites and spacecraft systems, announced today it has been selected by NASA to perform a study exploring the use of commercial habitats in space as satellite manufacturing facilities. In support of NASA’s vision of a vibrant space economy, and expanded opportunities for American industry, SSL will study the feasibility of habitable space platforms for building commercial satellites and how they might unlock new capabilities and business paradigms.
SSL brings its decades of experience in satellite manufacturing and space-based robotics to developing new architectures that dramatically improve the value, performance, flexibility, and responsiveness of spacecraft services. Transferring spacecraft manufacturing to space eliminates the constraints of launch vehicle volumes and schedules and the need for spacecraft to withstand the harsh conditions of launch. It allows for more simple and capable system designs that can be fielded more rapidly and economically.
“Today’s focus on commercial activity in space is undoubtedly accelerating innovation,” said Richard White, president of SSL Government Systems. “At SSL, we work closely with NASA to explore concepts that implement next-generation business models to stimulate private demand for commercial human spaceflight. Bringing commercial and government innovation together will be a powerful driver of capabilities.”
A Maxar Technologies company, SSL focused on unlocking new capabilities to solve problems in space. Reusing habitable platforms such as the International Space Station or free-flying private sector stations to reinvent satellite manufacturing has the potential to benefit humanity with better, more cost-effective satellite communications and many more opportunities to bring the benefits of insights from space to solve problems on Earth.
SSL’s advanced in-orbit servicing and assembly capabilities are contributing to a variety of NASA studies and missions including the robotic conversion of rocket upper stages into commercial habitats and the Dragonfly on-orbit satellite assembly program, which was demonstrated on the ground last year.