A robotic spacecraft from Northrop Grumman latched onto an old communications satellite in deep orbit and extended its lifespan by five more years. The Mission Extension Vehicle-2 (MEV-2) marked Northrop’s second successful docking of an object in space. The mission is part of the company’s efforts to kickstart an industry of life-extension services for dead, dying or errant satellites.
MEV-2 launched in August last year from French Guiana in South America. It spent six months raising its orbit to rendezvous with Intelsat’s 17-year-old communications satellite in geosynchronous orbit, more than 22,000 miles from Earth. That satellite was running out of fuel and was getting old; it had operated far beyond its expected lifespan while still…
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Author: Joey Roulette