Advanced Television

Intelsat confirms another space tug rescue mission

June 28, 2024

Intelsat has signed a contract with Starfish Space for a geostationary satellite space tug servicing mission which will take place in 2026.

Starfish Space’s ‘Otter’ rescue satellite will attach itself to an already retired Intelsat craft to validate that the system can work. This test linkage will be followed by another rescue mission for an – as yet – unspecified active satellite.

Intelsat already has a two rescue tugs working in space. Its Intelsat 10-02 craft is using Northrop Grumman’s Mission Extension Vehicle MEV-2 service vehicle. The rescue was originally planned to last for five years (from 2021) but in May Intelsat announced that it had extended the contract with Northrop Grumman to keep MEV-2 in place and married to Intelsat 10-02 for an additional four years.

The previous rescue used MEV-1 from Northrop which was used in 2020 to link with Intelsat’s IS-901 (launched in 2001) which prior to the rescue had already been officially retired. MEV-1 brought IS-901 back to an operational life. In May Intelsat confirmed that MEV-1 will stay in service until 2025 when it will help lift IS-901 into its final graveyard orbit and complete retirement.

Intelsat also confirmed that it has other missions in mind for MEV-1 which like MEV-2 was designed for multiple rescue tasks.

Intelsat is in the process of being acquired by SES.

As to Starfish Space, Dr Trevor Bennett, co-founder of Starfish Space said: “Starfish Space is delighted to be supporting Intelsat with services provided by Otter. They are an incredible team at the forefront of the industry and the Otter will help them deliver even more to their customers. We’re also excited that this will be the first of many Otters that will make on-orbit servicing a standard part of satellite operations.”

Categories: Blogs, Inside Satellite, Satellite

Tags: , ,