The award, for which no dollar value was disclosed, was issued by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
SSL said its work for DARPA will support the completion of the design and integration of the first Payload Orbital Delivery system accommodation on the SSL 1300 satellite platform to enable delivery of small, free-flying spacecraft beyond low Earth orbit for future servicing, operational, science and technology space missions.
"The innovative PODs platform is paving the way for more affordable, frequent and sustainable access to space," said John Celli, president of SSL. "DARPA's vision and commitment to this capability could open the door to many other small satellite and in-orbit servicing missions, enabled by frequent access to space on the SSL 1300 and other GEO- based (geostationary) platforms."
SSL, a maker of satellites and a subsidiary of MDA, has extensive experience in putting small government payloads and missions onto commercial spacecraft.