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An old satellite gets a new lease on life, thanks to the help of a servicing satellite

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An outdated communications satellite tv for pc in orbit round Earth is again in service once more after being nudged into new life-saving orbit by one other satellite tv for pc. Intelsat 901, which has been in house since 2001, is now offering telecommunications protection over the Atlantic once more after being moved to a brand new location in house by a servicer satellite tv for pc, extending the automobile’s mission by not less than 5 years.

Intelsat 901’s new lease on life is all because of Northrop Grumman’s MEV-1 spacecraft. MEV-1 is the primary mission of its form to exhibit what is called satellite tv for pc servicing — utilizing one satellite tv for pc to fix or aid another satellite that might be having trouble in orbit. Situated 22,000 miles above Earth, Intelsat 901 is working simply effective, however the satellite tv for pc was working low on propellant, and floor operators would have been pressured to retire the spacecraft. MEV-1 was tasked with rendezvousing with Intelsat 901 and latching on to the automobile. That method, MEV-1 may act as a brand new set of engines for Intelsat 901, transferring the outdated satellite tv for pc into a brand new spot in order that it may proceed working as designed.

MEV-1 launched in October and spent three months touring to Intelsat 901, which had been positioned in a “graveyard” orbit — the place some inoperable satellites are positioned after they run out of gasoline. That method, they don’t intervene with any operational satellites which might be nonetheless working. In February, the MEV-1 mission made historical past when the spacecraft efficiently snagged Intelsat 901 with an onboard grappling system — marking the primary time that two industrial satellites had ever docked in orbit. With the 2 satellites appearing as one, MEV-1 then moved Intelsat 901 to its new location, and on April 2nd, Intelsat transitioned “30 of its industrial and authorities clients to the satellite tv for pc,” a course of that took about six hours.

“With a give attention to offering the most effective buyer expertise in our trade, Intelsat is proud to have pioneered this modern first with Northrop Grumman. We see elevated demand for our connectivity providers world wide, and preserving our clients’ expertise utilizing modern expertise reminiscent of MEV-1 helps us meet that want,” Mike DeMarco, Intelsat’s chief providers officer, mentioned in a press release.

MEV-1 will keep hooked up to Intelsat 901 for not less than 5 years earlier than transferring it again into the graveyard orbit. When that occurs, MEV-1 can be a free agent, able to serving to out one other ageing satellite tv for pc in want of house tow. In the meantime, Intelsat is so happy with the end result of MEV-1 that the corporate has already contracted with Northrop Grumman for a second satellite tv for pc servicing mission known as MEV-2. That mission is meant to launch later this 12 months and can goal the Intelsat 1002 satellite tv for pc, which can also be working low on propellant.

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