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Northrop Grumman’s second MEV and Galaxy 30 satellite prepare for launch

Stephen Kuper

Northrop Grumman has confirmed the arrival of the company’s Galaxy 30 spacecraft for Intelsat and the Mission Extension Vehicle 2 (MEV-2) at the launch site in Kourou, French Guiana – both vehicles are scheduled to launch late July 2020 in a stacked configuration onboard an Ariane 5 rocket.

Northrop Grumman’s second MEV and Galaxy 30 satellite prepare for launch
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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 US C-band spectrum transition plan that Intelsat is collaborating on with the Federal Communications Commission.

Frank DeMauro, vice president and general manager, tactical space systems at Northrop Grumman, said, "These satellites are excellent examples of our established leadership and innovation in the industry. 

"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."

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 MEV 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 9 October 2019, and completed its historic docking with the Intelsat 901 spacecraft on 25 February 2020. This marked the first time two commercial satellites have docked in orbit. IS-901 resumed communications services on 2 April 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, a wholly owned subsidiary of Northrop Grumman.

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