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Intelsat enhances satellite lifespan with mission extension vehicles
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Intelsat enhances satellite lifespan with mission extension vehicles
by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) May 26, 2024

Intelsat, operator of a large integrated satellite and terrestrial network and provider of inflight connectivity, will extend broadband, video distribution, and mobile satellite service to customers across three continents using Northrop Grumman's Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV). This technology will add nine years to the Intelsat 10-02 (IS-10-02) satellite.

Geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) satellites usually last 15-20 years before depleting fuel. In 2020, Intelsat was the first to use Northrop Grumman's MEVs to prolong the life of a healthy satellite. Both MEVs have succeeded, giving IS-10-02 and Intelsat 901 (IS-901) five additional years of service. New agreements with Northrop Grumman's SpaceLogistics LLC will keep both MEVs in service for several more years.

At the end of the current servicing period, MEV-1 will move IS-901 to the GEO graveyard and then service another Intelsat satellite. MEV-2 will stay docked to IS-10-02, nearly doubling its service time. IS-10-02, made by Airbus Defense and Space, was launched in June 2004 and began service in August 2004. Capacity on this satellite is shared with Telenor Satellite. MEV-2's help extends IS-10-02's life, enabling continued media distribution and broadband services across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and South America. IS-10-02 is critical for the Intelsat-Telenor Satellite video neighborhood, distributing over 900 channels to nearly 18 million television households across Europe.

"As the largest satellite operator in geosynchronous orbit, Intelsat has always been committed to continuous reliable service, as well as leadership in furthering sustainable space operations," said Jean-Luc Froeliger, SVP Space Systems at Intelsat. "Intelsat continues to pursue first-of-their-kind innovations to extend the life of its satellites in orbit, while also bringing the industry together to foster information sharing and collaboration across a challenging regulatory environment to achieve sustainable stewardship of the resource of space."

"This extension is excellent news for our many clients across Europe and the Middle East who are served by THOR 10-02," said Morten Tengs, CEO of Telenor Satellite. "We pride ourselves on the resilience of our service and, by extending the life of the satellite, we can ensure continuity and hassle-free operations for a number of years."

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