A robotic spacecraft built by Northrop Grumman’s SpaceLogistics business is slated to reposition Intelsat’s communications satellite back to its geosynchronous orbit by the end of the month, Breaking Defense reported Friday.
Joe Anderson, vice president of operations and business development at SpaceLogistics, told the publication in an interview that the Mission Extension Vehicle 1 spacecraft will return Intelsat 901 to its working orbit after integrating with the satellite in another out-of-way orbit.
MEV-1 docked to 901 on Feb. 25 as part of a satellite-servicing mission aimed at adding another five years to the satellite’s lifespan.
Anderson said that SpaceLogistics is also assessing the use of MEV to repair spacecraft under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites initiative.
The company plans to use a DARPA-provided robotic arm to integrate mission-extension pods to satellites to support propulsion functions.
“This is a great thing that will allow us to do services beyond what the MEV does,” said Anderson. “MEV does just docked life extension.”
The second MEV mission, MEV-2, is scheduled to launch in the second quarter of 2020 and begin life-extension work for Intelsat’s 1002 satellite by the year’s end.