SSL Payload Orbital Delivery System (PODS)

PODS is a cost-effective system for sending small satellites to orbit. It carries small spacecraft to orbit attached to large satellites, and then dispenses them as free-flyers near GEO. With an average of 6 satellites launched each year, SSL can help you find a ride to space!


Mission Concept

PODS on Sat



SmallSat drop-off locations tailored to meet the mission needs. Applications include:

• Space Situational Awareness • Technology Demo with Rapid Refresh
• Deep Space Missions (Moon, Mars, Asteroids) • Satellite Servicing (Inspection / Repair / Refueling)
• GEO “slot holder” satellite • Constellation Deployment
• Earth Observation • Heliophysics / Astrophysics Missions


Dispensed From Various Locations on the Satellite

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Deployed using dispenser of customer’s choice. Examples include:


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SSL can provide a PODS-compatible bus designed to meet your payload needs


PODS Bus Parameters:
SmallSat wet mass: Nominally 75kg
Payload mass: Nominally 15 kg
Design life: 5 years
Dimensions: 1m x 0.5m x 0.4m
Power: up to 50W at 28 V

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Timeline for PODS Missions

Event Milestone Date (Months)
Host Contract Signing Launch – 24
SmallSat or SmallSat Mass Model Delivery to SSL Launch – 9
SmallSat Delivery to SSL Launch – 3
SmallSat Final Integration to Host Launch – 2
Combined Host / SmallSat Ship to Launch Base Launch – 1
Launch Launch

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User Guide

MicroSatellite Parameter

ICD Value

Launch Frequency 6 SSL launch opportunities per year
Maximum Volume 1m x 0.5m x 0.4m (Standard Sizing)
1m x 1m x 0.6m (Extended Sizing)
Maximum Mass 90 kg (Standard Sizing)
150 kg (Extended Sizing)
Available Power 150W average, 300W peak;  28-31 V
State During Launch Off
Data Connection MIL-STD-1553 (optional);  other interfaces possible
Thermal Environment -35°C to + 60°C non-operating
Launch Dynamics Acoustic, static, vibration, shock envelope of common launch vehicles (Ariane 5, Proton, Falcon 9, Atlas)
Dispensing Orbits Available GTO (at apogee), near GEO (300 km sub or super)
Deployment Video Available Yes

Download the complete SSL PODS Users Guide here.

Download the PODS brochure here.

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Contact pods@sslmda.com for more information.