The Intelsat 10-02/Thor satellite at the 1° West position is to see its life extended thanks to a pioneering space mission by Northrop Grumman Corporation and its wholly-owned subsidiary, SpaceLogistics.
SpaceLogistics has successfully completed the docking of a special Mission Extension Vehicle-2 (MEV-2) to the Intelsat satellite to deliver life-extension services.
According to Intelsat, Northrop Grumman is the only provider of flight-proven life extension services for satellites. This is the second time the two companies have docked commercial spacecraft in orbit. Northrop Grumman’s MEV-1 successfully docked to the Intelsat 901 (IS-901) satellite in February 2020. Unlike MEV-1, which docked above the geostationary orbit before moving IS-901 back into service, MEV-2 docked with IS-10-02 directly in its operational GEO orbital location.
MEV-2 will provide five years of service to IS-10-02 before undocking and moving on to provide services for a new mission.
IS-10-02 delivers broadband and media distribution services to Intelsat customers across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South America. It is a key satellite at the Intelsat-Telenor Satellite 1˚ West video position, which distributes more than 900 channels to some 18 million TV households across Europe.
Telenor Satellite owns about half of IS-10-02’s Ku band payload, which it markets as Thor 10-02.
“Today’s successful docking of our second Mission Extension Vehicle further demonstrates the reliability, safety and utility of in-space logistics. The success of this mission paves the way for our second generation of servicing satellites and robotics, offering flexibility and resiliency for both commercial and government satellite operators, which can enable entirely new classes of missions,” said Tom Wilson, vice president, strategic space systems, Northrop Grumman and president, SpaceLogistics LLC.
“Intelsat has pioneered innovations in space-based technology for more than five decades. We are proud to work side by side with Northrop Grumman on today’s groundbreaking mission, the first-ever docking of a communications satellite in GEO orbit. Space servicing is a valuable tool for Intelsat in extending the high-quality service experience that our customers depend upon. Northrop Grumman’s MEV technology has helped us extend the life of two high-performing satellites, while focusing our innovation capital on advancing the Intelsat next-generation network – this technology is a ‘win-win’ for us,” said Intelsat CEO Mike DeMarco.
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