Advanced Television

Intelsat rescue mission underway

March 12, 2021

A Northrup Grumman ‘space tug’ rescue mission is closing in on its target satellite, Intelsat’s 10-02 craft.

The Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-2) has spent the past few days getting up close and personal to the Intelsat satellite while systems have been tested.

The MEV-2 craft is having to be ultra-cautious because 10-02 is still a working satellite. Last year its predecessor MEV-1 had a somewhat easier time of it given that its then target satellite Intelsat-901 was already in a safe (and so-called) graveyard orbit.

MEV-2’s role is to act as an orbiting power unit and fuel tank to what is otherwise a valuable and working satellite.

Its target 10-02 satellite has been working since 2004 and otherwise would be nearing its normal ‘end of life’ and need to be replaced with a new satellite. The MEV-2 eliminates that need at least for the 5 years that the mission is contracted for. The MEV-2 will also bring the satellite back to its nominal orbital position.

Intelsat 10-02 is located at 1 degree West (359 degrees East) and carries 45 active C-band transponders and 16 Ku-band transponders. Its official design life in orbit was 13 years and thus has already outperformed its mission duration.

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