Northrop to Launch Updated MEV-2 Spacecraft for Satellite Servicing Mission


Northrop Grumman is set to launch its second Mission Extension Vehicle on Saturday as part of an effort to prolong the operational life of Intelsat’s 10-02 communications satellite, SpaceNews reported Thursday.

MEV-2 will launch aboard the Ariane 5 heavy-lift vehicle along with the BSAT-4b broadcasting spacecraft and Intelsat Galaxy 30 satellite.

The second MEV is slated to rendezvous directly with 10-02 in geosynchronous orbit in late 2020 for the life-extension mission. 

Joseph Anderson, director of MEV at Northrop's SpaceLogistics business, said at the online Space Tech Expo Connect conference that the company installed a capture mechanism into the MEV platform that will enable it to handle various liquid apogee engines.

“Starting in the next few years, every satellite launched should have a grapple fixture on it, a standard grapple fixture that a servicing vehicle can use to capture,” he noted.

Anderson’s comments come two weeks after Northrop announced a potential launch schedule for MEV-2.

MEV-1 docked with the Intelsat 901 telecommunications satellite in GEO earlier this year after being launched to orbit in October.

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