Intelsat, operator of one of the world’s largest integrated satellite and terrestrial networks and leading provider of inflight connectivity (IFC), ordered its second Mission Extension Pod (MEP) from Northrop Grumman Corporation’s SpaceLogistics, which will add life to an Intelsat satellite, providing uninterrupted services to many customers.
The new contract represents the fourth deal with SpaceLogistics, following an order for a single MEP in April 2023 and two Mission Extension Vehicles (MEVs) already in service with Intelsat satellites.
“Intelsat is the industry leader in space sustainability and SpaceLogistics is a vital part of that,” said Intelsat Chief Technology Officer, Bruno Fromont. “We continue to look for ways to provide the best services to our customers as well as remain good stewards of the space environment. This commitment continues to build our unique self-insurance capabilities in space and is another step towards unlocking the potential of future in-orbit service applications.”
The MEP “jet pack” will be installed by SpaceLogistics’ mission robotic vehicle (MRV) on an unidentified Intelsat satellite operating in geosynchronous orbit, ensuring continuity of satellite service for at least six years beginning as early as 2026. Both MEP and MRV have completed critical design reviews, are in assembly and testing, and are proceeding toward launch.
This recent purchase is the second this year, continuing Intelsat’s legacy of space sustainability first instituted in 2020 when SpaceLogistics’ Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-1) performed the first-ever in-orbit commercial spacecraft docking with Intelsat 901 (IS-901). That mission extended the life of IS-901 for another five years. In 2021, a second Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-2) began providing similar life-extension services for Intelsat 10-02.
“With the sale to Intelsat of a second MEP, we continue to build on our long-standing relationship that includes over five years of in-space servicing provided by our two Mission Extension Vehicles,” said SpaceLogistics President, Rob Hauge.
Intelsat’s global team of professionals is focused on providing seamless and secure, satellite-based communications to government, NGO and commercial customers through the company’s next-generation worldwide network and managed services. Bridging the digital divide by operating one of the world’s largest and most advanced satellite fleet and connectivity infrastructures, Intelsat enables people and their tools to speak over oceans, see across continents and listen through the skies to communicate, cooperate and coexist. Since its founding six decades ago, the company has been synonymous with satellite-industry “firsts” in service to its customers and the planet. Leaning on a legacy of innovation and focusing on addressing a new generation of challenges Intelsat team members now have their sights on the “next firsts” in space as they disrupt the field and lead in the digital transformation of the industry.
Featured image credited to Northrop Grumman SpaceLogistics