Northrop Grumman said its mission extension device, Mission Extension Vehicle-1 (MEV-1), returned the Intelsat 901 satellite to work. For this, it moved it to a different position. MEV-1 was launched into orbit in October 2019.
The MEV-1 satellite is the first commercial device of its kind. Its task is to dock to satellites in low Earth orbit and then, using the device’s capabilities in terms of controlling the altitude and orientation of spacecraft, to extend their operating time.
By agreement between Northrop and Intelsat, MEV-1 will provide satellite extension services for five years. After that, he will incapacitate him and send him to the “burial orbit”.
This device is reusable – MEV-1 will be able to start servicing another satellite, which is becoming obsolete. The company plans to launch another ship with the same function, the MEV-2, during 2020.
Northrop Grumman said that if the program is successful, it will be able to double the life of existing satellites. This will save on new devices and reduce the amount of space debris in low Earth orbit.