Canadian Manufacturing

Maxar subsidiary picked to build parts for Jupiter flyby

The company will make a critical interface between the spacecraft's various attitude control systems, thermal sensors and the flight computer


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SSL, Maxar Technologies’ subsidiary, was selected by NASA JPL to provide critical equipment for the Europa Clipper spacecraft. PHOTO: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

PALO ALTO, Calif.—NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has selected Maxar subsidiary SSL to design and build critical equipment for a spacecraft that will explore Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons.

SSL is a manufacturer of satellites and spacecraft systems. It is part of Maxar Technologies, which was formerly the Canadian technology company MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA).

The Europa Clipper spacecraft, set to launch in the 2020’s, will perform repeated investigative flybys of Europa, an icy moon of Jupiter, which strong evidence suggests has an ocean of liquid water beneath its crust, potentially harboring conditions suitable for life.

SSL will provide the Remote Engineering Unit, a critical interface between the spacecraft’s various attitude control systems, thermal sensors and the flight computer. Due to the highly radiative environment the spacecraft will be subjected to, the SSL design for the interface will include innovative radiation-tolerant components expected to help power future exploration missions.

“SSL has a rich legacy of supporting NASA mission success with our commercial capabilities and innovative technologies,” said Richard White, president of SSL Government Systems. “Our work on the Europa Clipper mission continues our legacy with NASA and JPL, and furthers our overarching goal to develop disruptive technologies that advance humankind’s mission in space.”

Maxar Technologies (formerly MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates) is a leading global provider of advanced space technology solutions for commercial and government markets including satellites, Earth imagery, robotics, geospatial data, and analytics. With more than 6,500 employees in over 31 locations, the Maxar Technologies portfolio of commercial space brands includes MDA, SSL, DigitalGlobe, and Radiant Solutions.


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