SSL Minimizes Its Impact On The Environment
As one of the world’s leading satellite manufacturers, SSL is committed to protecting the environment and has ongoing initiatives to reduce its impact on the planet. The U.S. Government and the State of California have very stringent environmental requirements, and SSL always meets or exceeds these regulations and goes beyond in its efforts to keep the environment safe and clean and protect the planet for future generations. Find out what SSL is doing in the following areas:
SSL recycles materials as often as possible. All metal chips/shavings, metal furniture, lead solder, and all scrap electronics such as old equipment and computer monitors are responsibly recycled. Old computers are donated or sold for reuse. SSL also has a campus-wide program to recycle paper, in addition to plastic and aluminum cans and bottles, and recycling bins are found in offices, common areas, and in the cafeteria. To further reduce paper waste and save trees, most regularly used documents are now available online; and for meetings, the company has initiated a program to make documents available electronically using tablets. The result is a dramatic reduction in printed material.
To save electricity, SSL has a program underway to install energy efficient lighting with sensors that turn lights off when a room is not occupied. This is already in use in many SSL buildings. To reduce emissions, the company also encourages employees to car-pool whenever possible and provides charging stations for employees with electric cars. Many employees take advantage of the company-provided shuttle service to the local commuter train station, and employees are encouraged to ride bicycles to work with bicycle parking facilities and showers available at most buildings. A shuttle service is also available to transport employees across the campus between its 37 different buildings.
SSL is conscientious in its responsibility to protect the space environment. SSL spacecraft comply with international standards that require no hardware be jettisoned or released from the spacecraft during on-orbit operations, including separation from the launch vehicle, solar array and antenna deployments, and any other deployments. All hardware used to hold down deployed assemblies is retained on the spacecraft. SSL also helps its customers plan for enough additional fuel to enable deorbiting when a satellite reaches the end of its useful life. The company assists its customers in adhering to guidelines issued by the European Space Agency (ESA) and 10 other national space agencies, ensuring that, at end of life, geostationary spacecraft are sent at least 300 km above the geosynchronous orbital ring and parked in the internationally designated graveyard orbit to help maintain the ongoing viability of the GEO arc.
While satellite manufacturing demands the use of a broad variety of materials and processes that can result in hazardous waste, SSL pays particular attention to reducing its hazardous waste production, and beginning in late 2015 successfully introduced a new and permitted process that evaporates the water content from the waste stream and collects the waste residue for disposal. The introduction of this process resulted in the elimination of approximately 80% more of SSL’s hazardous waste in its machine shop despite approximately the same amount of machining work. The company continues to work to identify additional opportunities for further hazardous waste reductions, and toxic waste disposal is always properly contained in accordance with regulations. In addition, SSL is vigilant in its review of every hazardous material used and has completely eliminated use of any Class I ozone-depleting substances.
In order to conserve water, SSL has prohibited the use of single-pass cooling water. Instead, water used for cooling is consistently recycled. SSL also prohibits the use of chlorinated solvents, which have been shown to be common pollutants of the groundwater in Silicon Valley, where the company is located.
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.