Northrop Grumman and its SpaceLogistics subsidiary have docked a satellite servicing vehicle to an Intelsat-built commercial communications satellite operating in geostationary orbit as part of a five-year life-extension contract between the companies.
Northrop said Monday the Mission Extension Vehicle-2 will provide the IS-10-02 with robotics-based services to extend the satellite's life while in space.
MEV-2 is Northrop's second entry in its satellite servicing vehicle lineup. It follows MEV-1, which docked to Intelsat's IS-901 satellite in February 2020.
Northrop will undock MEV-2 after five years to service other satellites with the vehicle. The company plans to expand its satellite servicing portfolio with the release of its Mission Robotic Vehicle by 2024.
The future MRV is being developed in partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. It is designed to robotically repair, modify and inspect government and commercial satellites in orbit.
“Northrop Grumman’s MEV technology has helped us extend the life of two otherwise healthy and high-performing satellites, while focusing our innovation capital on advancing the Intelsat next-generation network,” said Mike DeMarco, chief services officer at Intelsat.