Oslo, 15 August 2020. Telenor Satellite, in partnership with Intelsat, launched a new era for satellite communications by becoming the first commercial satellite operators to begin the process of in-orbit servicing of an active satellite in geosynchronous orbit.
Image: “Moving into position in the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch zone is Ariane 5 with its three-satellite payload. Flight VA253. Galaxy 30, MEV-2 and BSAT-4b” ©2020 ESA-CNES-ARIANESPACE / Optique video du CSG-P BAUDON
Space Logistics (a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman) was contracted to deploy its Mission Extension Vehicle MEV-2 to prolong the operational life of THOR 10-02/ Intelsat 10-02 for up to five years.
The successful launch of MEV-2 from Kourou, French Guiana on 15 August started the countdown to its arrival in geostationary orbit. It was launched on board an Ariane 5 rocket and is scheduled to dock with THOR 10-02/ Intelsat 10-02 in early 2021. The docking procedure will occur while the satellite remains fully operational, ensuring minimal disruption to service.
THOR 10-02/ Intelsat 10-02 was launched in 2004 and is still in excellent health. It carries thousands of valuable communication links, including broadcasting, maritime connectivity and land-based services, making crucial communications possible in inaccessible and remote locations. Without intervention, the life-limiting factor for the satellite would have been the amount of on-board propellant which is scheduled to run out towards the end of 2021.
Ensuring continuity of service for customers is of primary importance to Telenor Satellite, and this will be achieved through a safe rendezvous and docking operation. To be certain that this manoeuvre can be successfully accomplished, the MEV service was successfully validated on a ground-breaking precursor mission (MEV-1), which returned Intelsat’s IS-901 from outside of the geosynchronous orbit back into service in March 2020.
As part of the life extension procedure, the MEV-2 satellite will be docked onto the communications satellite while in full operation, effectively providing the space equivalent of a jetpack and so extending the life of THOR 10-02/ Intelsat 10-02. When properly docked, the MEV-2 satellite will take over control of both the orbit and pointing of THOR 10-02/ Intelsat 10-02.
Morten Tengs, CEO of Telenor Satellite, said: “We have great confidence in the MEV-2 mission and look forward to the continued service of THOR 10-02 for the benefit of our customers across Europe and the Middle East. THOR 10-02 carries thousands of valuable communication links, including broadcasting and maritime connectivity and, for those living in remote and inaccessible sites, makes possible and maintains, crucial communications. By employing this ground-breaking advancement to replenish the longevity of a high-quality satellite in excellent health, we are able to ensure a hassle-free continued operation for our customers,” Mr Tengs added.
For further information, please contact:
Tel: +44 (0) 1296 682403
Editorial contact at Telenor Satellite:
Natalia Grøvan, Head of Marketing and Communications
Commercial and technical inquiries at Telenor Satellite:
Peter Olsen, Director Business Development
Notes to Editor:
About THOR 10-02/ Intelsat 10-02
The THOR 10-02/Intelsat 10-02, is a condominium satellite, co-owned by Telenor Satellite and Intelsat, built by Airbus and launched on a Proton in April 2004.
About Telenor Satellite
Telenor Satellite is Europe’s most versatile satellite operator, serving customers with premium, high-quality Broadcast and Data Services for maritime and land-based connectivity throughout European, North Atlantic, Middle East and North African regions from 1º West. Telenor Satellite serves over 18 million homes, nearly 1,600 vessels, and 600 land terminals, and delivers services to more than 400 broadcasters.