The view from Northrop Grumman’s MEV-2 spacecraft because it approached to dock with Intelsat satellite tv for pc IS-1002.
Two aerospace corporations completed an business first on Monday, as a small Northrop Grumman spacecraft docked efficiently with an energetic Intelsat satellite tv for pc to supply service and lengthen its life.
Intelsat’s IS-1002 satellite tv for pc is sort of 18 years previous, and working properly previous its anticipated lifespan, however the Northrop Grumman-built spacecraft known as MEV-2 will add one other 5 years of life to IS-1002, basically re-fueling the satellite tv for pc and giving it a brand new engine for management.
The businesses hit a milestone within the rising enterprise of servicing satellites whereas in area.
“Immediately’s profitable docking of our second Mission Extension Car additional demonstrates the reliability, security and utility of in-space logistics,” Tom Wilson, vp of Nothrop Grumman’s strategic area techniques stated in a press release. “The success of this mission paves the way in which for our second technology of servicing satellites and robotics, providing flexibility and resiliency for each business and authorities satellite tv for pc operators, which may allow totally new courses of missions.”
An in depth up have a look at Intelsat’s IS-1002 satellite tv for pc as MEV-2 approached for docking in orbit.
Extending the lifetime of an energetic spacecraft in orbit has solely been finished with human assist earlier than—such because the Hubble telescope servicing missions performed by NASA astronauts.
Launched in August on an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket, the robotic MEV-2 spent the final a number of months touring out to the satellite tv for pc. MEV-2 then matched its orbit earlier than efficiently docking, whereas additionally offering distinctive imagery of the satellite tv for pc because the spacecraft approached.
IS-1002 was launched in June 2004 and was solely supposed to be in service for 13 years, offering broadband communications companies to Europe, South America, Africa and the Center East. The satellite tv for pc is in a hard and fast place above the Earth in what is called geosynchronous orbit—tens of hundreds of miles as much as present as large a protection space as successfully attainable.
The MEV-2 mission builds upon the success of Northrop Grumman’s MEV-1 mission final 12 months, which docked with an inactive Intelsat satellite tv for pc. That satellite tv for pc was in a “graveyard orbit,” that means it was now not offering companies, however MEV-1 restored it and moved the satellite tv for pc again into place.
The MEV-2 spacecraft, whereas much like MEV-1, took that mission a step additional by docking and increasing the lifetime of a satellite tv for pc presently in service.
Northern Sky Analysis, a satellite tv for pc consulting agency, estimates that the marketplace for satellite tv for pc servicing and life extensions is a $3.2 billion alternative over the subsequent decade.
The agency forecasts that there’s demand for servicing upward of 75 satellites by 2030, with firms and governments trying to lengthen the lifespan of sometimes costly geosynchronous equatorial orbit satellites, relatively than launch replacements.