Canadian Manufacturing

Canada’s MDA signs deal with DARPA to develop satellite servicing business

by The Canadian Press   

Canadian Manufacturing
Procurement Research & Development Technology / IIoT Public Sector

MacDonald Dettwiler says project will focus on satellites in geostationary arc

DARPA and the Canadian company’s U.S. subsidiary are expected to share the cost and responsibilities of the project. PHOTO: Polina Shuvaeva/Thinkstock

VANCOUVER—SSL, the U.S. commercial satellite business of Canada’s MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd., has signed a deal to help the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency develop a satellite servicing business.

The company, also known as MDA, says DARPA’s Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites program is expected to be the foundation of a new business for SSL.

DARPA and SSL are expected to share the costs and responsibilities for the program.

SSL will provide a spacecraft to carry the robotic servicing payload and will manage integration and operation of the spacecraft, while DARPA will contribute the robotics technology, expertise and a government-provided launch. MDA will add a refuelling capability.


The RSGS program is expected to have the capability to perform a variety of different types of missions for clients on both a planned and urgent need.

The business will offer both commercial and government customers repair, upgrade and relocation services as well as satellite refuelling.


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