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Northrop Grumman claims milestone in satellite docking

13th April 2021 - 16:20 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Image of Intelsat 10-02 taken by the IR camera on MEV-2. (Photo: Northrop Grumman)

Successful docking paves the way for future on-orbit and life-extension services through robotics, says Northrop Grumman.

Northrop Grumman and its wholly-owned subsidiary SpaceLogistics LLC on 12 April completed the docking of the Mission Extension Vehicle-2 (MEV-2) to the Intelsat 10-02 satellite.

This was the first time that docking was accomplished in geosynchronous (GEO) orbit and the second time that Northrop Grumman docked two commercial spacecraft in orbit, after MEV-1  with the Intelsat 901 satellite in February 2020. 

Unlike MEV-1, which docked above GEO orbit before moving IS-901 back into service, MEV-2 docked with IS-10-02 directly in its operational GEO orbital location. 

MEV-2 will provide five years of service to IS-10-02 before undocking and moving on to provide services for a new mission.

Northrop Grumman is also developing Mission Extension Pods to provide critical life extension services to ageing satellites, with a target launch date of 2024.

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