Orbital ATK has begun assembly work on an in-space satellite servicing vehicle after the company received approximately 75 percent of payload and platform components through its Virginia-based manufacturing facility.
Orbital ATK said Monday it is scheduled to launch the Mission Extension Vehicle-1 in late 2018 to provide satellite extension services to Intelsat by early 2019 through its Space Logistics subsidiary.
Tom Wilson, president of Space Logistics, said the start of MEV-1 assembly marks the first step in Orbital ATK’s efforts to introduce future space logistics capabilities.
The start of the MEV-1 assembly phase came months after Orbital ATK and NASA completed the preliminary design review of the vehicle’s docking component – Rendezvous, Proximity Operations and Docking system – in June.
MEV-1 is based on the Orbital ATK-built GEOStar space vehicle bus platform and works to take over the attitude control and maintenance functions of in-orbit satellites to provide in-space servicing.
The vehicle is slated to enter the system-level testing phase by spring 2018 and will take off as a co-payload with the Orbital ATK-built Eutelsat 5WB satellite.
Orbital ATK’s spacecraft components unit produces MEV-1’s solar arrays, propellant tanks and other structures through the firm’s facilities in California, while testing work on the RPOD system’s control algorithms, actuators and sensors occurs at the company’s headquarters in Virginia.