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SSL (company)

SSL, formerly Space Systems/Loral, LLC (SS/L), of Palo Alto, California, is a wholly owned manufacturing subsidiary of MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA). SSL designs and builds satellites and space systems for a wide variety of government and commercial customers. Its products include high-powered direct-to-home broadcast satellites, commercial weather satellites, digital audio radio satellites, Earth observation satellites and spot-beam satellites for data networking applications.

On June 26, 2012 SSL was acquired for $875 million by the Canadian aerospace company MacDonald Dettwiler (MDA). SSL was acquired in 1990 for $715 million by Loral Corp. from Ford Motor Company as the Space Systems Division of Ford Aerospace. The company was founded as the Western Development Laboratories (WDL) of Philco (Philco-Ford since 1966).

SSL's customers include AsiaSat, Azercosmos, Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk. (BRI), Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation, Bulgaria Sat ( Bulsatcom), DirecTV, EchoStar, Eutelsat, Globalstar, Google's Skybox Imaging, Hispasat, Hughes Network Systems, ICO Global Communications, Intelsat, Japan MTSAT, JSC Gascom, Loral Skynet, NASA/ NOAA ( GOES), nbn, Optus, PanAmSat, Pasifik Satelit Nusantara (PSN), QuetzSat, Satmex, SES S.A., SES World Skies, Shin Satellite, Singtel, Sirius Satellite Radio, Sky Perfect JSAT Corporation, Spainsat, Star One, Telenor, Telesat Canada, Thaicom, ViaSat, WildBlue, and XM Satellite Radio.

In 1960, the Courier 1B, built by then Philco, became the world's first active repeater satellite.

SSL has recently pioneered research in electric propulsion systems, lithium-ion power systems and the use of advanced composites on commercial satellites, which permit significant increases in the size and power of a satellite’s payload and extends the satellite’s on-orbit lifetime. SSL also has developed new service-enhancing technologies such as super power systems for direct-to-user applications and ground-based beam forming, a technology that uses both satellite and terrestrial assets to provide mobile users with increased coverage and capacity capabilities.

SSL’s major competitors are Boeing Satellite Systems, Lockheed Martin, Thales Alenia Space, Airbus Defence and Space and JSC Information Satellite Systems.

, there are 80 SSL-built GEO satellites currently on orbit.