‘Rescue tug’ makes contact with Intelsat satellite
April 13, 2021
By Chris Forrester
A Northrop Grumman Mission Extension Vehicle, MEV-2, successfully docked with Intelsat 10.02 on April 12th.
MEV-2, as its name indicates, is the second rescue tug from Northrop Grumman used to make contact with an Intelsat craft and thus extend the mission of the orbiting satellite by around five more years.
The rescue was a ‘first’ in that Intelsat 10-02 was still in its geostationary orbit. The previous rescue took place in the so-called ‘graveyard orbit’ and safety zone well away from other working satellites.
MEV-1 rescued its satellite back in February 2020.
The final docking on MEV-2 to Intelsat 10-02 took a little while such was the precision required. The manoeuvre started at 10.30 GMT and was completed at 17.34 GMT.
“With the docking of MEV-1 last February, we made history; we created an entirely new market in orbit,” Tom Wilson, VP/strategic space systems at Northrop Grumman and president of SpaceLogistics, said during the broadcast of the event. “We are now the only provider of life extension services for satellites, operating not just one but two mission extension vehicles. With these capabilities, we can enable entirely new classes of missions.”