This view from Northrop Grumman’s Mission Extension Vehicle 2 spacecraft shows the Intelsat 10-02 satellite, shortly before docking. Image via Northrop Grumman.
Last week, the American aerospace company Northrop Grumman and its subsidiary SpaceLogistics announced a successful test of a newly developed robotic, satellite-servicing spacecraft, called Mission Extension Vehicle 2 (MEV-2). The robot craft successfully docked with a commercial communications satellite, Intelsat 10-02, on April 12, 2021. The MEV is designed to attach itself to aging satellites and to help prolong their operations in space. Newly released images (above and below) are from the perspective of the MEV’s infrared, wide-field camera, on approach to the satellite, shortly before docking. Joe Anderson, the director of mission extension services at Northrop Grumman, said in a webinar following the docking:
This is the first time humans have seen this satellite since it launched in June of 2004.
In a statement, Northrop Grumman explained that – under the terms of Intelsat’s satellite life-extension servicing contract – the MEV-2 will provide five years of service to IS-10-02 before undocking and moving on to provide services for a new mission.
An image of Intelsat 10-02 taken by MEV-2’s infrared wide field of view camera at about ...