Intelsat orders another space tug rescue
April 14, 2023
By Chris Forrester
Intelsat has ordered a Mission Extension Pod (MEP) from Northrop Grumman’s SpaceLogistics, which will add life to an Intelsat satellite and provide uninterrupted services to many customers.
The MEP jet pack often referred to as a ‘space tug’ will be installed by SpaceLogistics’ mission robotic vehicle (MRV) on an Intelsat satellite operating in geosynchronous orbit, ensuring continuity of satellite service for at least six years beginning in 2026. Intelsat has not identified which satellite will be serviced. Both MEP and MRV have completed critical design reviews, are in assembly and testing, and are proceeding toward launch.
“Intelsat is committed to safe and sustainable stewardship of space,” said Intelsat CTO Bruno Fromont. “Intelsat successfully led the industry four years ago with the first In-orbit servicing of satellites in cooperation with Northrop Grumman. The new MEP will also ensure the Intelsat mission of providing the most reliable service to our customers.”
This recent purchase continues Intelsat’s legacy of space sustainability first instituted in 2020 when SpaceLogistics’ Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-1) performed the first-ever in-orbit commercial spacecraft docking with Intelsat 901 (IS-901), extending its life for another five years. In 2021, a second Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-2) began providing similar life-extension services for Intelsat 10-02.
“SpaceLogistics shares Intelsat’s commitment to making space sustainable, and we look forward to expanding our relationship as a provider of next-generation in-space servicing with our MRV and MEP,” said SpaceLogistics President Rob Hauge.