Intelsat, which delivers Ku-band and C-band communications to maritime, welcomed the launch of a mission-extension vehicle (MEV) to keep one of its key satellites operating for longer than planned
Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket launched the second MEV vehicle along with an Intelsat satellite, Galaxy 30, from the Guiana Space Center near Kourou, French Guiana, on 15 August.
Northrop Grumman’s subsidiary Space Logistics’s MEV-2 will be used to extend the life of the Intelsat 10-02 satellite from Q1 2021. This satellite provides broadband services across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South America.
Telenor Satellite has contracted capacity from this satellite, which is therefore also named Thor 10-02, to provide mobility coverage, including for maritime, over Europe and the Middle East.
MEV-2 is scheduled to dock with Intelsat/Thor 10-02 in 2021, providing the satellite with five additional years of life. It would otherwise have run out of fuel and been decommissioned by the end of 2021.
Intelsat chief executive Stephen Spengler said launching MEV-2 was part of a long-term commitment to extending satellite life, as the first MEV was validating. “We were proud to partner with Northrop Grumman earlier this year to pioneer the future of in-space servicing with MEV-1 and our Intelsat 901 satellite,” said Mr Spengler. “We are looking forward to this next exciting servicing mission with MEV-2 and Intelsat 10-02.”
Fuel from MEV-1 returned Intelsat’s IS-901 from outside of the geosynchronous orbit back into service in March 2020. MEV-2 should provide five more years of fuel, and therefore service, to Intelsat/Thor 10-02.
Telenor Satellite chief executive Morten Tengs said this will ensure critical maritime communications continues for its customers. “We have great confidence in the MEV-2 mission and look forward to the continued service of Thor 10-02 for the benefit of our customers across Europe and the Middle East,” said Mr Tengs.
“By employing this ground-breaking advancement to replenish the longevity of a high-quality satellite in excellent health, we are able to ensure a hassle-free continued operation for our customers.”
Ariane 5 also launched Galaxy 30, the first satellite in Intelsat’s Galaxy fleet refresh plan, which provides mobility and media content in North America. It will replace Galaxy 14 at 125º west once it is in service in early 2021.
With C-, Ku-, Ka- and L-band capabilities, Galaxy 30 is the first four-frequency Intelsat satellite, to facilitate broadband, mobility and network services across North America.
Intelsat said Galaxy 30 will play an important role in its US C-band spectrum transition plan, which is accelerating America’s path to implement 5G connectivity.
Intelsat is facilitating the work of the US Federal Communications Commission in transitioning and safeguarding media services currently utilising the lower portion of C-band to make way for 5G wireless services.
Ariane 5 also launched Broadcasting Satellite System Corp’s BSAT-4b satellite for media content distribution.