Airbus Defence and Space wanted to launch a satellite servicer shortly after Northrop Grumman launched MEV-1, but backed away from those plans two years ago because of uncertainty about the commercial market.
An International Launch Services Proton rocket carried Northrop Grumman’s first satellite-servicing spacecraft and a communications satellite for Eutelsat to orbit Oct. 9.
With the first commercial satellite servicing spacecraft about to launch, industry executives argue that government agencies, primarily seen as developers of key servicing technologies, also need to be customers of those systems.
Intelsat-901, a 17-year-old communications satellite running low on propellant, is awaiting a first-of-its-kind service call from a robotic spacecraft carrying a fresh tank of fuel.
Orbital ATK subsidiary SpaceLogistics plans to offer customers a wide range of products and services, beginning with its Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV) and progressing to in-orbit spacecraft assembly, repair and cis-lunar transportation.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Dec. 5 okayed the first part of a satellite-servicing mission Orbital ATK’s Space Logistic subsidiary has with Intelsat, saying the servicing vehicle can execute “rendezvous, proximity operations, and docking with the Intelsat-901” satellite while in a graveyard orbit.
WASHINGTON and MOSCOW — Five years ago this month, Intelsat ordered the first of what is now six high-throughput Epic-class satellites. That soon-to-be global network is now mostly in orbit, with the fifth satelli…