For the first time ever, a robotic spacecraft caught an old satellite and extended its life

April 17, 2020
A small spacecraft built by Northrop Grumman succeeded in docking with Intelsat’s IS-901 satellite and returning it to service for another five years, Michael Sheetz reports for CNBC.

DULLES, Va., - Intelsat’s IS-901 satellite is nearly 20 years old, and well beyond its expected lifespan, but a small spacecraft built by Northrop Grumman succeeded in docking with the satellite and giving it another five years of service, the companies announced on Friday, Michael Sheetz reports for CNBCContinue reading original article.

The Intelligent Aerospace take:

Date Goes Here-Since the February rendezvous, MEV-1 has assumed navigation of the combined spacecraft stack reducing its inclination by 1.6° and relocating IS-901 to its new orbital location. Intelsat then transitioned roughly 30 of its commercial and government customers to the satellite on April 2. The transition of service took approximately six hours. IS-901 is now operating at the 332.5°E orbital slot and providing full service to Intelsat customers.

“With a focus on providing the best customer experience in our industry, Intelsat is proud to have pioneered this innovative first with Northrop Grumman. We see increased demand for our connectivity services around the world, and preserving our customers’ experience using innovative technology such as MEV-1 is helping us meet that need,” said Intelsat Chief Services Officer Mike DeMarco. “I want to thank Northrop Grumman, SpaceLogistics and our valued Intelsat customers, who put their trust in us to successfully execute this historic mission. As commercial space-servicing technology progresses, Intelsat looks forward to pioneering new applications in support of our customers’ continued success.”

Related: Boeing-built Intelsat 29e satellite launches with most advanced digital payload available commercially

Related: Northrop completes first docking of MEV-1 to the IS-901 spacecraft

Related: Northrop Grumman to deliver Inertial Navigation System, GPS for Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche 3 combat aircraft

Jamie Whitney, Associate Editor
Intelligent Aerospace

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