Northrop Grumman MEV-2 spacecraft companies Intelsat 10-02
Intelsat’s IS-10-02 satellite tv for pc is sort of 18 years previous, and working nicely previous its anticipated lifespan, however the Northrop Grumman-built spacecraft referred to as MEV-2 will add one other 5 years of life to IS-10-02, basically re-fueling the satellite tv for pc and giving it a brand new engine for management.
The businesses hit a milestone within the rising enterprise of servicing satellites whereas in house.
“In the present day’s profitable docking of our second Mission Extension Automobile additional demonstrates the reliability, security and utility of in-space logistics,” Tom Wilson, vice chairman of Northrop Grumman’s strategic house techniques stated in an announcement. “The success of this mission paves the way in which for our second era of servicing satellites and robotics, providing flexibility and resiliency for each industrial and authorities satellite tv for pc operators, which might allow fully new lessons of missions.”
Extending the lifetime of an energetic spacecraft in orbit has solely been completed with human assist earlier than—such because the Hubble telescope servicing missions performed by NASA astronauts.
Launched in August on an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket, the robotic MEV-2 spent the final a number of months touring out to the satellite tv for pc. MEV-2 then matched its orbit earlier than efficiently docking, whereas additionally offering distinctive imagery of the satellite tv for pc because the spacecraft approached.
IS-10-02 was launched in June 2004 and was solely supposed to be in service for 13 years, offering broadband communications companies to Europe, South America, Africa and the Center East. The satellite tv for pc is in a set place above the Earth in what is called geosynchronous orbit—tens of 1000’s of miles as much as present as huge a protection space as successfully potential.
The MEV-2 mission builds upon the success of Northrop Grumman’s MEV-1 mission final 12 months, which docked with an inactive Intelsat satellite tv for pc. That satellite tv for pc was in a “graveyard orbit,” that means it was not offering companies, however MEV-1 restored it and moved the satellite tv for pc again into place.
The MEV-2 spacecraft, whereas just like MEV-1, took that mission a step additional by docking and increasing the lifetime of a satellite tv for pc presently in service. This implies there was extra threat concerned, provided that IS-10-02 is serving prospects, together with offering tv companies to greater than 18 million households in Europe.
Northern Sky Analysis, a satellite tv for pc consulting agency, estimates that the marketplace for satellite tv for pc servicing and life extensions is a $3.2 billion alternative over the following decade.
The agency forecasts that there’s demand for servicing upward of 75 satellites by 2030, with firms and governments trying to prolong the lifespan of usually costly geosynchronous equatorial orbit satellites, slightly than launch replacements.