Space Newsfeed

IET Satcom 2018

SSL expands scope of work for NASA asteroid exploration mission Psyche

(9 August 2018 - SSL) SSL announced today that it was selected by Zin Technologies to build and test the Psyche Compute Element.

This critical flight system component was designed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for Psyche, a NASA Discovery Mission, which will investigate a metal asteroid that is expected to offer insight into how our planet formed. The award builds upon a long standing and trusted relationship with NASA and further demonstrates SSL's successful track record of leveraging advanced capabilities for ground-breaking government missions in space exploration and science.

As the main on-board computer, the Psyche Compute Element acts as the brain of the spacecraft, functioning as the coordinating center for command and data handling activity. As previously announced, SSL is working together with Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the first mission to explore what is believed to be an asteroid made of metal rather than rock or ice. In addition to the Psyche Compute Element, SSL is providing a high power solar electric propulsion spacecraft chassis based on the SSL 1300 satellite platform. Using SSL's standard commercial spacecraft design helps NASA reduce cost and ensure reliability for this mission to the asteroid belt, which lies between Mars and Jupiter.

ssl 2

SSL to provide critical flight system component for NASA Psyche Mission (courtesy: ASU/JPL/SSL/Peter Rubin)

"SSL is proud to be playing a major role in NASA's Psyche mission, which will deepen humanity's knowledge of our solar system and accelerate innovation for future exploration missions," said Richard White, president of SSL Government Systems. "The spacecraft's design has been proven on more than 100 missions, and leverages our extensive experience in solar electric propulsion which dates back to 2004. With 87 spacecraft currently on orbit today, SSL is a trusted partner for the most ambitious missions being undertaken in the new space economy."

Scheduled to launch in 2022, the Psyche mission was selected over four other NASA Discovery Mission candidates. The spacecraft recently completed a comprehensive NASA mission systems review and is on track to meet its next development milestone, called the Preliminary Design Review.

About SSL

SSL, based in Palo Alto, California, is a leading provider of advanced spacecraft systems, with broad expertise to support commercial and government satellite operators and innovative space missions. The company designs and manufactures spacecraft for services such as direct-to-home television, video content distribution, broadband internet, mobile communications, in-orbit servicing, space exploration, and Earth observation. As a Silicon Valley innovator for 60 years, SSL's advanced product line includes state-of-the-art small satellites, and sophisticated robotics and autonomous solutions for remote operations. SSL is a Maxar Technologies company (NYSE: MAXR; TSX: MAXR).

About Maxar Technologies

As a global leader of advanced space technology solutions, Maxar Technologies (formerly MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates) is at the nexus of the new space economy, developing and sustaining the infrastructure and delivering the information, services, systems that unlock the promise of space for commercial and government markets. As a trusted partner, Maxar Technologies provides vertically-integrated capabilities and expertise including satellites, Earth imagery, robotics, geospatial data and analytics to help customers anticipate and address their most complex mission-critical challenges with confidence. With more than 6,500 employees in over 30 global locations, the Maxar Technologies portfolio of commercial space brands includes MDA, SSL, DigitalGlobe and Radiant Solutions. Every day, billions of people rely on Maxar to communicate, share information and data, and deliver insights that Build a Better World. Maxar trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange as MAXR.