Intelsat launches Galaxy 30, life-extender for Intelsat 10-02

Satellite operator Intelsat has launched Galaxy 30, its latest geosynchronous orbit satellite that will primarily provide high-performance TV distribution service to its North American customers.

The launch vehicle also carried Northrop Grumman’s Mission Extension Vehicle 2 (MEV-2). The existing Intelsat 10-02 satellite is scheduled to be the latter’s first customer in early 2021.

Both craft launched on an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket from the Guiana Space Center near Kourou, French Guiana.

Galaxy 30 is the first satellite in Intelsat’s Galaxy fleet refresh plan and will replace Galaxy 14 at 125° West once it is in service in early 2021.

With C-, Ku-, Ka- and L-band capabilities, Galaxy 30 is the first four-frequency Intelsat satellite. In addition to serving Intelsat’s media business customers, Galaxy 30 will also offer broadband, mobility and network services to Intelsat mobile network operator, enterprise and government customers in North America.

The satellite will play an important role in Intelsat’s US C-band spectrum transition plan, which will see part of the C-band cleared to make way for new 5G mobile services.

The MEV-2 vehicle is scheduled to dock with Intelsat 10-02 at 1° West in 2021, providing it with five additional years of life. Intelsat 10-02 delivers media distribution and broadband services to Intelsat customers across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South America.

Telenor Satellite contracts for capacity on Intelsat 10-02 and is partnering with Intelsat to bring the benefits of in-space servicing to its customers, Intelsat said.

“Today’s launch of Galaxy 30 demonstrates Intelsat’s long-term commitment to our North American media customers. At Intelsat, we’re constantly innovating, investing in and upgrading our satellite fleet and terrestrial infrastructure. Galaxy 30 is a great example of how we help our customers stay ahead of evolving consumer demands, today and well into the future,” said Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler.

“Today’s launch was especially important for Intelsat because Northrop Grumman’s innovative MEV-2 launched alongside Galaxy 30. Intelsat was proud to partner with Northrop Grumman earlier this year to pioneer the future of in-space servicing with MEV-1 and our Intelsat 901 satellite. We’re looking forward to this next exciting servicing mission with Intelsat 10-02.”

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