https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/17/northro ... llite.htmlFor the first time ever, a robotic spacecraft caught an old satellite and extended its life
- A small spacecraft built by Northrop Grumman succeeded in docking with Intelsat’s IS-901 satellite and returning it to service for another five years.
- The feat is a space industry first, as extending the life of spacecraft already in orbit has only been done with human help before.
Intelsat’s IS-901 satellite is nearly 20 years old, and well beyond its expected lifespan, but a small spacecraft built by Northrop Grumman succeeded in docking with the satellite and giving it another five years of service, the companies announced on Friday.
- “Intelsat is proud to have pioneered this innovative first with Northrop Grumman,” the company’s chief services officer Mike DeMarco said in a statement.
Intelsat’s satellite was launched in June 2001 and was only intended to serve for 13 years, providing communications services in the Atlantic Ocean region.
The satellite is in a fixed position above the Earth in what is known as geosynchronous orbit – tens of thousands of miles up to provide as wide a coverage area as effectively possible.
should be geostationary
should be 22,236 miles
that's not why.
I personally think this might be penny wise and pound foolish. A new satellite would quintuple the capability and longevity at [likely] not much more cost. Then again, SpaceX StarLink my buggywhip it in five years, so maybe not.
Regardless, pretty fucking cool.