PALO ALTO, Calif. – August 7, 2013 — Space Systems/Loral (SSL), a leading provider of commercial satellites, today announced progress on a new Thermal Vacuum Chamber (TVC), which will increase the company’s production capacity and improve testing efficiency for satellite operators who need to meet aggressive procurement schedules. In June the company successfully completed the assembly, installation, and placement of the TVC shell at its Palo Alto, California, satellite manufacturing facility. The chamber shell has currently completed preliminary pressure testing, and construction of the building in which it will be housed is underway.
“A second thermal vacuum chamber enhances our potential for growth—in support of our business strategy—and benefits our customers by ensuring schedule integrity throughout satellite testing,” said John Celli, president of SSL. “The project demonstrates our parent company, MDA’s commitment to the communications satellite business, and is one of numerous ways that they are helping us expand our business.”
The new front loading TVC, which has an internal diameter of 8.2-meters (27 feet) and is 15.2-meters (50 feet) long, will serve as a second spacecraft testing facility operating simultaneously with the existing TVC, which is affectionately known as the “Blue Pumpkin,” because of its shape and color. Having served SSL for more than four decades, it has an internal diameter of 7.9-meter (26 foot), and requires a 27.3-metric-ton (60,186 pound) crane to remove and replace its lid.
The ability to process two satellites through thermal vacuum testing in parallel, without leaving the Palo Alto campus, will enhance the way that SSL manages satellite production flow by allowing this multiple-week portion of satellite testing to be performed locally for two satellites simultaneously.
Simulating the extreme temperatures and vacuum conditions of space, a TVC provides critical preflight testing. During a satellite’s stay in the TVC, the RF electronics are operated while the spacecraft is exposed to test temperatures ranging from -180 degrees C (-292 degrees F) to +100 degrees C (+212 degrees F).
The new thermal vacuum chamber will begin service in the second half of 2014.
SSL has a long history of delivering reliable satellites and spacecraft systems for commercial and government customers around the world. As the world’s leading provider of commercial satellites, the company works closely with satellite operators to provide spacecraft for a broad range of services including television and radio distribution, digital audio radio, broadband Internet, and mobile communications. Billions of people around the world depend on SSL satellites every day. For more information, visit www.ssloral.com.
This news release contains forward-looking statements and information, which reflect the current view of Space Systems/Loral (SSL) with respect to future events and financial performance. When used in this news release, the words “believes”, “expects”, “plans”, “may”, “will”, “would”, “could”, “should”, “anticipates”, “estimates”, “project”, “intend” or “outlook” or other variations of these words or other similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements and information. Actual results may differ materially from the expectations expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements as a result of known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Known risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to: risks associated with operating satellites and providing satellite services, including satellite construction or launch delays, launch failures, in-orbit failures or impaired satellite performance; risks associated with satellite manufacturing, including competition, cyclicality of SSL’s end-user markets, contractual risks, creditworthiness of customers, performance of suppliers and management of SSL’s factory and personnel; risk associated with financial factors such as volatility in exchange rates, increases in interest rates, restrictions on access to capital, and swings in global financial markets; risks associated with domestic and foreign government regulation, including export controls and economic sanctions; and other risks, including litigation. The foregoing list of important factors is not exhaustive. The information contained in this news release reflects SSL’s beliefs, assumptions, intentions, plans and expectations as of the date of this news release. Except as required by law, SSL disclaims any obligation or undertaking to update or revise the information herein.