Northrop Grumman announced June 30 the arrival of the company-built Galaxy 30 (G-30) spacecraft for Intelsat and the Mission Extension Vehicle 2 (MEV-2) at the launch site in Kourou, French Guiana. The vehicles are scheduled to launch late July 2020, in a stacked configuration onboard an Ariane 5 rocket.
“These satellites are excellent examples of our established leadership and innovation in the industry,” said Frank DeMauro, vice president and general manager, tactical space systems, Northrop Grumman. “The Galaxy 30 spacecraft will fill a critical need for Intelsat, while our second MEV will provide game-changing life extension services and continue to define a new market.”
Galaxy 30 (G-30) is the 11th Northrop Grumman-built satellite purchased by Intelsat and the first in its Galaxy fleet replacement program, dedicated to video distribution and broadcast services. G-30 carries a C-band payload and will be integral to the U.S. C-band spectrum transition plan that Intelsat is collaborating on with the Federal Communications Commission. Additionally, G-30 includes Ku- and Ka-band payloads to support broadband applications as well as the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) hosted payload for the Federal Aviation Administration. G-30 is based on Northrop Grumman’s flight-proven GEOStar-2 platform.
Intelsat also recently selected Northrop Grumman to build two C-band satellites, which are the 12th and 13th purchased from the company.
The Mission Extension Vehicle is the industry’s first satellite servicing vehicle, designed to dock with geostationary satellites whose fuel has nearly depleted. Once docked, MEV uses its own thrusters and fuel supply to control the orbit of the customer satellite. When the customer no longer desires MEV’s service, it will undock and move to a new client’s vehicle.
The company’s first Mission Extension Vehicle, MEV-1, launched October 9, 2019, and completed its historic docking with the Intelsat 901 spacecraft February 25, 2020. This marked the first time two commercial satellites have docked in orbit. IS-901 resumed communications services April 2, 2020.
MEV-2 will dock with the Intelsat 1002 (IS-1002) in early 2021. MEV-2 is the second Mission Extension Vehicle supplied by Space Logistics LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Northrop Grumman.