Intelsat to Prolong Life of Four Satellites

by Yuri Nikolaenko

Intelsat Orders Second MEP for Continued Operations Until '27

Jun 29, 2023

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Intelsat, a prominent global satellite communications provider, has recently unveiled its plans to extend the operational lifespan of four satellites until 2027. Intelsat has placed an order for its second Mission Extension Pod (MEP). The MEP was created by SpaceLogistics, a division of Northrop Grumman Corporation. This MEP will extend the operational life of an Intelsat satellite, ensuring uninterrupted services for numerous customers.

“Intelsat is the industry leader in space sustainability and SpaceLogistics is a vital part of that,” said Intelsat Chief Technology Officer, Bruno Fromont.

The SpaceLogistics’ mission robotic vehicle (MRV) will install the MEP, also known as a “jet pack,” onto an undisclosed Intelsat satellite operating in geosynchronous orbit. The MEP is specifically designed to extend the operational life of the satellite for a minimum of 6 years, starting as early as ’26. Both the MEP and MRV have completed critical design reviews, and they are currently undergoing assembly and testing procedures in preparation for launch.

This strategic move reaffirms Intelsat’s commitment to maximizing the value of its satellite fleet and ensuring uninterrupted services for its customers. By incorporating advanced technologies and innovative solutions, Intelsat aims to optimize the lifespan of its satellites, reduce costs associated with new launches, and contribute to a more sustainable space industry. The successful implementation of the MEP and MRV projects will mark another significant milestone in Intelsat’s pursuit of space sustainability and operational efficiency.

Continuing its commitment to space sustainability, Intelsat has made its second purchase this year from SpaceLogistics. This follows Intelsat’s pioneering efforts in 2020 when SpaceLogistics’ Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-1) successfully performed the first-ever in-orbit commercial spacecraft docking with Intelsat 901 (IS-901), extending its lifespan by five years. In 2021, a second Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-2) started providing similar life-extension services for Intelsat 10-02.

Moreover, prolonged satellite operations ensure uninterrupted service for Intelsat’s customers. The extended lifespan enables the company to maintain critical connectivity for various industries, including telecommunications, media and entertainment, maritime, aviation, and government sectors. Whether it is supporting vital communication links, broadcasting live events, or enabling remote connectivity in underserved areas, Intelsat’s extended satellite life enhances its ability to serve a diverse range of customers worldwide.

Furthermore, by prolonging the lifespan of its satellites, Intelsat gains more time to develop and deploy its next-generation satellite solutions. This includes advancements in High-Throughput Satellites (HTS) technology, which can provide even greater capacity and efficiency, catering to the ever-increasing bandwidth requirements of modern applications. This positions Intelsat at the forefront of innovation in the satellite communications industry.

Intelsat, short for International Telecommunications Satellite Organization, is a renowned global satellite communications company. It was established in 1964 and has since become a pioneer in the field of satellite technology and services. With its headquarters located in McLean, Virginia, Intelsat operates a vast fleet of satellites positioned in geostationary orbit, offering comprehensive communication solutions to customers worldwide.

The company’s satellites facilitate a wide range of services, including broadband connectivity, media distribution, government communications, and network services. Intelsat serves diverse industries such as telecommunications, broadcasting, maritime, aviation, enterprise, and government sectors. Its satellite network enables reliable and secure communications across continents, connecting people, businesses, and governments across the globe.

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