Arianespace getting back to work
May 1, 2020
By Chris Forrester
The French authorities supervising the Guiana Space Centre in South America says that the work suspension can be gradually relaxed.
The site was effectively closed on March 16th with the launch campaigns then being worked on paused. The launch site will first handle a couple of Soyuz flights and one Vega flight.
The next commercial geostationary launch is for Galaxy 30 (3325 kgs) for Intelsat on flight VA253 which has two important co-passengers. The first is a slightly larger satellite for Japan’s BSat4B (3520 kgs). But of perhaps extra importance is the second ‘space tug’ for Northrop Grumman and its rescue craft MEV-2. These will be launched on a single Ariane 5 rocket currently scheduled for the end of July.
MEV-2 is an exact copy of MEV-1 which performed so spectacularly well when it rescued and brought back into service Intelsat’s 901 satellite in April. This particular rescue tug is also targeting an Intelsat satellite (Intelsat 10-02) and which is destined to extend the life of 10-02 by a further 5 years.
Intelsat 10-02 was launched back in 2004. It was originally sited at 1 degree West and much used by Telenor’s satellite division where it operated as Thor 10-02. It carries 70 C-band transponders (of which at least 45 are reportedly still active) and 36 Ku-band transponders (16 active).