Where It All Began
At Intelsat, we pride ourselves on being proactive to ensure the customers receive the best possible service experience. When Northrop Grumman introduced its Mission Extension Vehicle technology, we jumped at the chance to use in-orbit servicing to help extend the life of satellites in our 50-plus-strong fleet.
Mission-extension services are a smart and efficient way to maintain our existing satellite fleet — the world’s largest fleet of geosynchronous space assets —and to preserve our customers’ high-performing service, while freeing up even more resources to invest in advanced, next-generation technologies that will benefit our customers.
An Idea Becomes Reality
In 2019, Northrop Grumman launched its first Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-1) to give our Intelsat 901 satellite a new lease on life. The result? The mission was a huge success.
One Historic First Deserves Another
As the foundational architects of satellite technology, we never stop pushing the boundaries of innovation. MEV-1 was the first step to increasing the productivity of our satellites with minimal disruption to users. With the technology now fully validated, our next step was even bigger.
Northrop Grumman’s second Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-2) launched in August of 2020 with a goal of servicing our Intelsat 10-02 (IS-10-02) satellite. In another historic first, MEV-2 docked to IS-10-02 while the satellite remained in service in its geosynchronous orbital “station-keeping box.” For the MEV-1 mission, we took IS-901 out of service for the duration of the mission and conducted the mission about 300km above its normal operating orbit.
MEV-2 successfully docked with IS-10-02 on April 12, 2021. It will remain docked to the satellite for five years, extending its life and the high-performance broadband and media distribution services it provides to our customers in Europe, South America, Africa, and the Middle East.
IS-10-02 is a key satellite in the joint Intelsat-Telenor Satellite 1˚ West video neighborhood, which distributes more than 900 channels to some 18 million TV households across Europe.
With the success of our MEV-2 mission, Intelsat has solidified its position as an innovative leader in advanced space technologies—turning possibility into reality once again.