DULLES, Va. – Feb. 26, 2020 – Northrop Grumman Company (NYSE: NOC) and the corporate’s wholly-owned subsidiary, SpaceLogistics LLC, have efficiently accomplished the primary docking of the Mission Extension Automobile-1 (MEV-1) to the Intelsat 901 (IS-901) spacecraft to be able to present life-extension companies. This historic accomplishment marks the primary time two industrial satellites have docked in orbit and the primary time that mission extension companies shall be provided to a satellite tv for pc in geosynchronous orbit.
Artist rendering of seize .
MEV-1, launched Oct. 9, 2019, not too long ago accomplished its orbit elevating to an orbit roughly 180 miles above geosynchronous orbit. IS-901 is a completely operational communication satellite tv for pc that’s operating low on gasoline. Intelsat (NYSE: I) eliminated 901 from service in December 2019, transferring clients to different satellites in its intensive fleet, to be able to increase its orbit to the identical altitude as MEV-1 in preparation for docking. MEV-1 then accomplished the historic docking with IS-901 on February 25 at 2:15 a.m. ET. The mixed spacecraft stack will now carry out on-orbit checkouts earlier than MEV-1 begins relocating the mixed automobile to return IS-901 into service in late March.
“Our Mission Extension Automobile offers an modern, satellite tv for pc life extension service,” stated Tom Wilson, president, SpaceLogistics LLC. “Collectively, Northrop Grumman, SpaceLogistics LLC and Intelsat have taken step one in pioneering in-space logistics companies for each industrial and authorities clients.”
“Intelsat has been on the forefront of innovation and game-changing house know-how for many years. Pushing the boundaries of what’s attainable is in our DNA right here – that’s why we didn’t hesitate to enroll to be MEV-1’s first buyer,” stated Mike DeMarco, govt vice chairman and chief companies officer at Intelsat. “We’re proud to make historical past with SpaceLogistics LLC and Northrop Grumman on this groundbreaking house milestone.”
Underneath the phrases of the contract with Intelsat, MEV-1 will present 5 years of life extension companies to the IS-901 satellite tv for pc earlier than returning the spacecraft to a ultimate decommissioning orbit. MEV-1 will then transfer on to supply mission extension companies to a brand new shopper spacecraft.
MEV-1 was designed and constructed on the Northrop Grumman’s Dulles, Virginia, facility and makes use of a low-risk mechanical docking system that attaches to present options on the shopper satellite tv for pc. As soon as docked, MEV takes over the angle and orbit upkeep of the mixed automobile stack to satisfy the pointing and station conserving necessities of the client. MEV is designed for a number of docking and undockings and might ship over 15 years of life extension companies. The corporate is scheduled to launch its second Mission Extension Automobile, MEV-2, later this yr, which is contracted to supply service to a unique Intelsat satellite tv for pc.
Seize and docking sequence seen from the MEV1 – not the identical as “anal probing” by aliens.
This life extension service is simply step one in an expansive know-how improvement plan. The corporate’s imaginative and prescient is to ascertain a fleet of satellite tv for pc servicing automobiles that not solely lengthen the lifetime of satellites, however present different companies resembling inclination modifications and spacecraft inspections, in addition to use superior robotics know-how to carry out further features resembling in-orbit restore and meeting.
Because the foundational architects of satellite tv for pc know-how, Intelsat operates the world’s largest and most superior satellite tv for pc fleet and connectivity infrastructure. We apply our unparalleled experience and international scale to attach folks, companies and communities, regardless of how troublesome the problem. Intelsat is uniquely positioned to assist our clients flip prospects into actuality – transformation occurs when companies, governments and communities use Intelsat’s next-generation international community and managed companies to construct their related future.