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SSL Awarded NASA Contract for Robotic Satellite Assembly

By Caleb Henry | December 10, 2015
      Dragonfly SSL NASA DARPA

      SSL selected by NASA for robotic on-orbit assembly. Photo: SSL

      [Via Satellite 12-10-2015] NASA has selected Space Systems Loral (SSL) through its Tipping Point initiative to develop on-orbit robotic satellite assembly technology. Through the multi-million dollar contract, SSL will partner with NASA researchers to develop systems with benefits for both government and commercial spacecraft.

      NASA’s Tipping Point initiative promotes collaboration with industry to advance the goals for robotic and human exploration of the solar system through the development of critical space technologies. This recent award builds on SSL’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)-funded Dragonfly study to take the concept to a ground demonstration. A separate contract award to take the project to a flight demonstration would be required.

      “NASA’s Tipping Point program enables SSL to qualify new technologies for the commercial market while at the same time providing advances for future NASA missions,” said John Celli, president of SSL. “Satellites assembled on-orbit using our integrated robotics capability will be capable of higher performance than satellites that can be launched today. An added benefit will be antennas that can be moved and changed during a satellite’s mission life for flexibility and to accommodate changing market requirements.”