House Logistics LLC, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman, has launched a satellite tv for pc that may lengthen the lifetime of different satellites. The satellite tv for pc known as MEV-1 or Mission Extension Car-1. MEV-1 is the primary of its sort.
The MEV-1 was launched on October 9 on a Proton Russian rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. He’s going to fulfill Intelsat-901 (IS-901), a telecommunications satellite tv for pc launched in 2001 and virtually out of gasoline. MEV-1 will land with Intelsat-901, hearth its propellers and strengthen the communication satellite tv for pc's orbit, extending its life by about 5 years.
The MEV-1 has the potential to increase the lifetime of the satellite tv for pc by 15 years. So, as soon as spent 5 years on the IS-901, it might probably, in concept no less than, disconnect from the communications satellite tv for pc and anchor with one other satellite tv for pc, permitting to increase this newest. operational life. MEV-1 is mainly an area tug, however just for geosynchronous satellites.
Engineers testing the mooring gear of the MEV-1. Picture Credit score: Northrop-Grumman / House Logistics.
Northrop-Grumman states that the MEV-1 is able to docking about 80% of the geosynchronous satellites at present in use. The MEV-1 has a rated lifetime of 15 years, however relying on the small print of its deployment, it has sufficient gasoline to last more. Within the case of what they name an "common" satellite tv for pc of two,000 kg (4400 lb), its gasoline will final greater than 15 years.
The MEV-1 ought to scale back prices for satellite tv for pc operators and provides them mission flexibility. Not solely can it lengthen the lifetime of a satellite tv for pc by maintaining it in its orbit, however it might probably additionally redeploy a satellite tv for pc into a brand new geosynchronous orbit, ultimately opening up new markets. And with the flexibility to dock with a number of satellites, a bunch of corporations might share the prices of an MEV-1 mission.
After separation, MEV-1 will take about three months to climb into orbit, then modify its orbit to match Intelsat-901. Earlier than docking, MEV-1 will tour the goal satellite tv for pc and examine it because it positions itself for the ultimate method. As soon as obtained the order, MEV-1 will anchor autonomously with IS-901.
As soon as moored, the 2 satellites are mainly a brand new spacecraft or a brand new "stack" as they name it. Operators will take a look at the operation of the brand new battery earlier than launching thrusters and repositioning Intelsat.
After 5 years, MEV-1 will transfer the IS-901 into the GEO cemetery, an orbit positioned just a few hundred kilometers above the geostationary orbit. Placing lifeless satellites within the orbit of the cemetery reduces the chance of collision producing harmful particles. MEV-1 can then disconnect from the IS-901 and swap to its subsequent shopper.
MEV-1 is the primary satellite tv for pc to serve a satellite tv for pc, however it won’t be the final. Different corporations are creating related applied sciences. An organization known as Orbit Fab has partnered with Northrop-Grumman and others to construct satellites that may energy different satellites. They’ve already began and are engaged on different fashions. Because the refill satellites in Fab orbit will not be a lot bigger than a propeller tank, they need to assist scale back the price of maintaining satellites lively in area longer. Orbit Fab was additionally the primary personal firm to produce water to the ISS, which paved the best way for his or her refueling satellites.
Then there’s Archinaut.
Archinaut is a undertaking of Made in House. Archinaut will be capable to assemble and assemble constructions in area, together with antennas, photo voltaic panels, even area telescopes and different complicated constructions. Made in House has simply obtained a $ 73 million contract to discover the 3D printing of a small spacecraft in orbit.