Northrop Grumman has delivered two satellites to the Arianespace launch site in French Guiana.
The two craft, a Galaxy 30 satellite as well as a second Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-2, aka as a ‘Space Tug’) will be launched later in July on an Ariane 5 rocket.
Galaxy 30 is one of Intelsat’s third-generation satellites and ready for high-capacity output. G-30 carries a C-band payload and will be integral to the US C-band spectrum transition plan that Intelsat is collaborating on with the FCC. It also carries Ku and Ka-band payloads.
The Mission Extension Vehicle is the industry’s second in-orbit satellite servicing vehicle, designed to dock with geostationary satellites whose fuel has nearly depleted. Once docked, the MEV uses its own thrusters and fuel supply to control the orbit of the customer satellite. When the customer no longer desires MEV’s service, it will undock and move to a new client’s vehicle.
The company’s first Mission Extension Vehicle, MEV-1, launched on October 9, 2019, and completed its historic docking with the Intelsat 901 spacecraft February 25th 2020. This marked the first time two commercial satellites have docked while on-orbit. IS-901 resumed communications services April 2nd 2020.
MEV-2 will dock with the Intelsat 1002 (IS-1002, and launched in 2004) in early 2021. MEV-2 is the second Mission Extension Vehicle supplied by Space Logistics LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Northrop Grumman.
The next launch by Arianespace, as well as these two satellites, will also loft BSAT-4b which is a Maxar/SSL-built satellite for Japan’s B-SAT and is designed to be a back-up to BSAT-4a and was originally conceived as providing extra capacity for Japan’s Olympic Games coverage.