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Intelsat Orders Fourth Satellite-Extension Mission from Northrop Grumman

By Rachel Jewett | June 20, 2023

      The SpaceLogistics Mission Robotic Vehicle uses its sophisticated robotics to attach Mission Extension Pods. Photo: SpaceLogistics/Northrop Grumman

      Intelsat has ordered another Mission Extension Pod (MEP) from Northrop Grumman’s SpaceLogistics, the fourth mission-extending deal that the operator has done with Northrop Grumman. 

      This follows after Intelsat ordered its first MEP earlier this year. Intelsat hasn’t specified which satellites will receive the pods, but both will be paired with satellites in Geostationary Orbit (GEO) as early as 2026, to extend satellite service for at least six years. The MEP is a propulsion augmentation device that is installed via a Mission Robotic Vehicle (MRV) on a client satellite running low on fuel. 

      “Intelsat is the industry leader in space sustainability and SpaceLogistics is a vital part of that,” said Intelsat CTO 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.”

      Intelsat and Northrop Grumman made history in 2020 when the SpaceLogistics’ Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-1) performed the first-ever in-orbit commercial spacecraft docking with Intelsat 901. A second MEV began providing similar life-extension services for Intelsat 10-02 in 2021.