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Intelsat utilizes Mission Extension Vehicles to extend satellite lifespan

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In Short:

Intelsat, a satellite network operator, is extending the lifespan of its satellites to provide years of additional services to customers across three continents. The success of Northrop Grumman’s Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV) has allowed Intelsat to add nine years to the life of one satellite and five years to another. This sustainable approach to satellite management helps Intelsat continue providing media distribution and broadband services.

Intelsat Extends Satellite Lifespan With Mission Extension Vehicles
Integrated satellite and terrestrial networks operator Intelsat has successfully extended the operational life of its two key geosynchronous satellites, Intelsat 10-02 (IS-10-02) and Intelsat 901 (IS-901), through the success of Northrop Grumman’s Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV). This extension will bring years of additional broadband, video distribution, and mobile satellite service to customers across three continents.

MEV Success and Lifespan Extension

According to Intelsat, the MEV will provide an expected additional nine years of life to the Intelsat 10-02 (IS-10-02) geosynchronous satellite. Typically, GEO satellites have an average lifespan of about 15-20 years before they start running low on fuel.

In 2020, Intelsat became the first satellite operator to commit to deploying two of Northrop Grumman’s MEVs to extend the life of its satellites. Both MEVs have been successful in their missions, enabling IS-10-02 and IS-901 to provide five years of service beyond the expected lifespan of the satellites. Amendments to the original agreements with Northrop Grumman’s SpaceLogistics will keep both MEVs in space serving Intelsat satellites for several more years.

MEV-2’s Role

After the current servicing period, MEV-1 will release the IS-901 satellite into the GEO graveyard and provide service for another Intelsat satellite. MEV-2 will remain docked to Intelsat’s IS-10-02 satellite, extending its lifespan for several more years, nearly doubling the original contract duration. The capacity on IS-10-02 is shared with Telenor Satellite, and MEV-2 is helping to extend the satellite’s life to continue providing services to customers across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and South America.

Sustainable Space Exploration

Intelsat stated, “Intelsat continues to pursue first-of-their-kind innovations to extend the life of its satellites in orbit, while also bringing the industry together to foster information sharing and collaboration across a challenging regulatory environment to achieve sustainable stewardship of the resource of space.”

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