DigitalGlobe MDA Radiant Solutions SSL

Subsystems and Services

Rapid access to SSL’s extensive facilities and services to achieve development, qualification and production objectives.


From concept to cure, SSL’s composites technology and capabilities provide optimized, high reliability solutions. SSL’s design, analysis, and manufacturing experts team with customers to deliver engineered composite structures that meet cost, performance, and schedule requirements.

End To End Solutions

Composite structures optimized for requirements.
Expertise in analyzing complex composite structures.
Extensive manufacturing facilities and equipment.
Ultra high precision assembly fixturing and tooling.
Thermal cycle, thermal vacuum,thermo elastic distortion, static load, vibration, acoustic
Extensive materials library and strong supply chain.
Composites Center of Excellence dedicated to advancing composites technologies.

SSL’s efforts to reduce hazardous waste, conserve water, recycle, reduce emissions and the use of fossil fuels, and protect the space environment benefit the company, the community, and the planet. In protecting the environment, the company has also discovered increased efficiencies and a happier workforce. SSL employees are pleased to work for a company that cares for the well-being of the environment and places an importance on how it leaves the world for future generations.

Over 10,000 Composite Parts Per Spacecraft

SSL has an extensive history of building high-reliability composite structures.

  • Fully equipped facility
  • Precision assembly equipment

Materials Library

Carbon Fiber Prepregs Style Resin System Properties
M55J Plain weave Epoxy High modulus, spacecraft structures
M55J Unidirectional tape Epoxy High modulus, spacecraft structures
T300 Plain weave Epoxy High modulus, spacecraft structures
Fiberglass fabric Plain weave Epoxy Low cost, RF transparent
Polyaramid fabric Plain weave Cyanate ester High modulus, RF transparent
Triax fabric Triaxial weave Cyanate ester Ultra high modulus, acoustically permeable antenna reflectors
Partially spread fabric Plain weave Cyanate ester Ultra high modulus, dimensionally stable structures
YS80A Unidirectional tape Epoxy Ultra high modulus, stiffness driven applications
K13D2U Unidirectional tape Cyanate ester High thermal conductivity
TEM-9015 1/2 Chopped graphite Epoxy Molding compound, low cost

Environmental Testing

SSL Provides Rapid Space Qualification Through Environmental Testing

  • Validate Design to Meet Launch Vehicle and Operational Requirements
  • Reduce Risk
  • Measure and Correlate Performance to Models

Materials testing at SSL

Dedicated Environmental Test Facilities for SmallSats

Capable of -170 °C to +150 °C;
Vacuum Level 1 x 10 -6 torr
Capable of -160 °C to +180 °C
Testing up to: 18,000 pounds force.
Compact & Near Field Antenna Test Range
Capable of testing S to Ka-Band
EMI/EMC testing
TQCM and RGA measurements available.






Thermal Vacuum and Cycling Chambers

Clean Room Classification Vacuum Capabilities (Torr) Thermal Range (°C) Thermal Base Plate Size Orientation (in.) Chamber Size (in.)
M6.5 (100K PPM) >1 x 10-5 140 to -65 16 x 25 23 x 47
M6.5 (100K PPM) >1 x 10-5 180 to -100 48 x 48 104 x 210
M5 (10K PPM) >1 x 10-5 180 to -100 48 x 48 72 x 70
M6.5 (100K PPM) N/A 160 to -160 N/A 114 x 137


Vibration Testing

Clean Room Classification  Controller: M+P (Channels) Force Rating: Sine/Radom (lbf) Displacement
(pk-pk) (in.)
Slip-Table: Dimension Hole Pattern (in.) Head-Expander: Dimension Hole Pattern (in.)
ECA (Environmentally Controlled Area) 32 10000/10000 1 20 x 20
2 x 2, 1/4-20
2 x 2, 1/4-20
ECA (Environmentally Controlled Area) 16 8000/8000 2 28 x 28
2 x 2, 1/4-20
2 x 2, 1/4-20
M6.5 (100K PPM) 64 17000/
1 42 x 42
4 x 4, 1/4-20
4 x 4, 1/4-20
ECA (Environmentally Controlled Area) 32 17000/
1 48 x 48
4 x4 , 1/4-20
4 x 4, 1/4-20


Antenna Test Facilities

Clean Room Classification Antenna Test
Range Type
Window (in)
Range (Hz)
Range Accuracy Dynamic Range (db) Range Pointing
Accuracy RSS)
M6.5 (100K PPM) Compact Antenna 192" x 192" 2-31 Amplitude Taper:
± 0.5 to 1.0 db
Amplitude Ripple:
± 0.5 db
Phase Taper:
7 to 10°
55-70 ± 0.03°
M6.5 (100K PPM) Near Field 260" x 260" 1.6-31 Scanner Planarity:
Less than 1 mil in X,Y,Z axis
>55 0.007° deg per pointing axis





Facilities and Material Testing

SSL offers Space Expertise and Facilities for Materials Testing and Robotic Assembly/Integration.

Our Material Testing Capabilities Include:

  • Chemical Analysis
    • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)
    • Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS)
    • X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF)
  • Electrical Properties
    • Resistance and Resistivity Testing Including Surface and
      Volume Resistivity
    • Dielectric Breakdown
  • Electrical Tests
    • Burn-In
    • Magnetics
    • PIND
    • Screening Level
    • Temperature Cycle
    • Voltage Drop
  • Hardware Analysis
    • Constructional Analysis (CA)
    • Destructive Physical Analysis (DPA)
    • Failure Analysis (FA)
    • Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)
    • Optical Microscope Inspection/Photographic Documentation
  • Mechanical Tests
    • Rockwell Hardness/Durometer
    • Simultaneous Load/Strain monitoring and data analysis from
      multiple strain gages
    • Instron Machines (20,000 lb) For tensile, flexure, or
      compression testing
      • Common Tests Performed:
      • Tensile strength, modulus and elongation
      • Compression strength and modulus
      • Flexural strength and modulus
      • Short-beam shear strength
      • Three- and four-point beam bending
      • Tape adhesion
      • Crimp tool certification
      • Proof load testing of flight hardware
      • Flatwise Tensile
      • Miscellaneous Pull Tests
  • Metallurgical Cross-Sectional Analysis & Micro-Hardness Testing
    • Vickers and Knoop
  • Non Destructive Tests
    • Radiographic Inspection (RT)
    • Ultrasonic Inspection (UT)
    • Bond Tester (UT)
    • Acoustic Emission (AE)
    • Dye Penetrant (PT)
  • Optical Properties Measurements
    • UV-Vis-NIR spectrophotometry
    • Near-normal Emittance
  • Physical Properties Measurements
    • Viscosity
    • Specific Gravity
    • Mass determination
  • Process Verification and Qualification
    • Component Lead Forming Tool Evaluation
    • Weld Schedules
    • Wire Bond Schedules
    • Lead Pull Testing
    • Die Shear Testing
    • Printed Circuit Board Inspection
    • Flex Cable Inspection
  • Thermal Analysis Capabilities
    • Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA)
    • Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC)
    • Thermal-Mechanical Analysis (TMA)
    • Thermal-Gravimetric Analysis (TGA)

Manufacturing Facilities (Palo Alto)

48,000 sq. ft. composite manufacturing facility 15,000 sq. ft. assembly facility Three large ovens largest
16' x 11' x 24'
Three autoclaves largest 10' dia x 21' long Large (14' x 14' x 10') thermal cycling chamber for photogrammetry Large (13' x 10') CNC
panel router
Large (5' X 10') 5-Axis CNC Router Ultra-high precision alignment and assembly fixturing and tooling Three large (10' x 12') graphite tables for panel molding and bonding
Digital photogrammetry Large walk-in freezer (for prepreg storage) High bay with overhead crane
Dedicated composites machine shop Automated ply cutter with laser projection Laser tracker measurement system
Laser ply projection Clean rooms for assembly and bonding Two compression molding presses


Manufacturing Facilities (Pasadena)


Clean Rooms
Assembly and test areas include a class 10,000 (ISO 7) clean room, upgradeable to class 1000 as dictated by program requirements (400 ft2); a class 10,000 (ISO 7) clean tent (400 ft2); and two class 100,000 high bays (1000 ft2 each). Inside the class 10,000 clean rooms, Class 100 (ISO 5) laminar flow bench workstations are used for sensitive assembly operations.

SSL maintains its own in-house fabrication facility and machine shop.  Equipment includes 3-, 4-, and 5-axis CNC mills, a 4-axis Vertical Machining Center with optical spindle probe, a well-equipped tool room with precision jig borer, manual tool room lathes, and manual milling machines.

Dimensional inspection is performed in environmentally-controlled rooms equipped with a Coordinate Measuring Machine; High-precision Measuring Machine (PMM); Faro Arm (for larger, immobile assemblies); precision roundness machine (capable of measuring roundness, runout, flatness, and perpendicularity to a resolution of 0.00002 inch); high precision micrometer (capable of a resolution of 0.00001 inch); and various smaller, industry-standard, inspection tools.

Assembly & Test
Testing capabilities at SSL include actuator dynamometer testing (torques ranging from less than 1 oz-in to nearly 1000 lb-ft), thermal testing, thermal vacuum testing, and structure-mechanism static testing.

Additionally, SSL frequently develops unique test rigs to verify program-specific performance requirements (such as mechanism deployment accuracy/repeatability or robotic arm positioning accuracy/repeatability).

Certified Quality System

SSL has developed and implemented a Quality Management System (QMS) to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide products that meet or exceed customer and applicable regulatory & statutory requirements, and to address customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system, including continual improvement and the prevention of nonconformity. The quality system complies with the international standards ISO 9001 and AS9100, and is verified by an accredited certification body, to help assure our customers that SSL meets the highest quality standards possible.






Engineering Services

From Concept to Launch, SSL SV offers full Product Life Cycle services.

Our Service Capabilities Include



SSL delivers unique mechanism and packaging solutions for a variety of instrument applications. Typical applications include focus and zoom mechanisms for camera systems as well as baffle and door mechanisms for scientific observation equipment. Every system solution leverages heritage flight design, analysis, and test experience to satisfy the most stringent instrument requirement needs.




SSL offers a full suite of composite design and analysis capabilities: A full scale production facility to take any concept through flight qualification. Designs include: small structural elements and stiffening supports, optical benches designed to tight tolerances for precision scientific instrumentation, and large scale satellite bus structures. SSL has facilities to support static, vibration, and thermal-vacuum testing.