TAMPA, Fla. — Northrop Grumman’s MEV-2 satellite tv for pc servicer is performing shut proximity operations with Intelsat’s in-orbit 10-02 spacecraft forward of a docking try, SpaceNews has realized.
Each spacecraft stay wholesome after being in shut quarters to calibrate and check methods earlier than MEV-2 backed off, in line with a Northrop Grumman official.
The corporate intends to launch an replace as soon as it completes the docking.
It’s understood the satellite tv for pc servicer’s predecessor MEV-1 made a number of shut proximity operations maneuvers and approaches earlier than successfully attaching to Intelsat-901 last year, enabling the 19-year-old satellite tv for pc to renew companies from April 2.
MEV-2 has an analogous design to MEV-1, however the two missions have distinct variations. Whereas Intelsat-901 was now not functioning because it languished in a graveyard orbit, Intelsat-10-02 has been energetic in geosynchronous orbit since 2004 and is carrying communications site visitors.
The 2 corporations are working intently collectively to time approaches and the eventual docking for when it’s most conducive to Intelsat’s enterprise wants.
MEV-2 can be not shifting its satellite tv for pc to a unique orbit like MEV-1 did; as a substitute it’ll act as a brand new engine and gas tank to increase the spacecraft’s life.
Demand for GEO life extension missions will develop to 75 satellites by 2030, in line with a latest Northern Sky Analysis (NSR) forecast, representing a $3.2 billion cumulative market alternative.
NSR analyst Hussain Bokhari expects greater than 230 in-orbit satellites might be serviced ultimately throughout the subsequent 10 years, with governments and militaries additionally driving demand in GEO and non-GEO. These missions embrace relocation, salvage and restore companies.
This rising market potential continues to draw new entrants, together with Ukrainian startup Kurs Orbital with its plans to revive Soviet-era docking technology.
Nonetheless, Bokhari warned that the sluggish tempo of expertise growth and confidence in in-orbit servicing capabilities, in addition to an absence of clear technical and protected working requirements, threaten the market’s progress.