Canadian Manufacturing

MDA’s U.S. subsidiary to build $305M satellite servicing spacecraft

The deal was struck with Space Infrastructure Services LLC, a satellite servicing firm created by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates which will be majority owned by a Silicon Valley investment company going forward


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SAN FRANCISCO—MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) announced on June 28 that its U.S. subsidiary, SSL MDA Holdings Inc. (SSL), has won a $305 million deal with satellite servicing firm Space Infrastructure Services LLC (SIS) to design and build a satellite servicing spacecraft.

SIS was created by MDA to handle the company’s satellite servicing business, but it will now be majority owned by Finance Technology Leverage LLC (FTL), an investment company headquartered in Silicon Valley. MDA will retain a minority share in the company.

“Both commercial and government satellite operators are looking for flexibility in managing capital expenditures and better ways to incorporate resiliency into their fleets. By combining our world-class capabilities in satellite manufacturing and robotics together, SSL MDA is uniquely positioned to enable this next-generation capability,” said Howard L. Lance, president and CEO of MDA.

The spacecraft, to be built by SSL with the help of several research laboratories and MDA’s robotics divisions, is designed to inspect, repair, and augment geosynchronous satellites and plans to include a refueling payload to extend the life of satellites that are low on propellant.

MDA says on-orbit satellite servicing will provide operators with the ability to enhance the existing use of space assets through life extension, inspection and repair, as well as the ability to perform partial assembly in orbit.

“On-orbit refueling and repairing of spacecraft is a critical step in humanity’s march toward a vibrant and exciting frontier. We believe that SSL has assembled the world’s premier team to make SIS the leaders in this vital new arena,” said Ray Conley, Managing Partner of FTL.

MDA’s activities in the U.S. have ramped up recently, and the company, synonymous with the Canadian space industry, has talked about moving their headquarters to the U.S. as early as 2019.


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