SpaceLogistics – a part of Engineering giant Northrop Grumman – has successfully piloted its’ Mission Extension Vehicle-2 (MEV-2) to grab hold of an ageing Intelsat 10-02 (1 degree West) satellite.
An image of Intelsat 10-02 taken by MEV-2’s infrared wide field of view camera at 15m away.
The operation will deliver life-extension services to the 16-year-old Intelsat craft.
Last year Northrop Grumman completed a similar mission using its’ MEV-1 craft. That mission took place above GEO orbit before moving an Intelsat 901 (IS-901) satellite back into service.
Today’s mission saw the MEV-2 dock with IS-10-02 directly in an operational GEO orbital location – a world first.
The mission with the Intelsat 10-02 will allow it to provide services for five years before moving onto a new craft.
The Intelsat 10-02 is a key part of the ‘Intelsat-Telenor Satellite 1 West video neighbourhood’ and currently provides media and broadband across Europe, Africa and South America.
The mission marks a major milestone in the growing satellites servicing industry. SpaceLogistics is predicting servicing around 75 satellites by the end of the decade as companies and governments look to extend the lifespan of expensive geosynchronous equatorial orbit satellites instead of launching replacements.