Apr, 2022 - By SMI
SpaceLogistics, subsidiary of Northrop Grumman entered into agreement with SpaceX and Australian telecommunications organization Optus for launch of its robotic spacecraft
SpaceLogistics, a completely Northrop Grumman owned subsidiary that offers cooperative space logistics and in-orbit satellite servicing with its fleet of commercial fleet of servicing vehicles, now entering into an agreement with SpaceX and Optus, an Australian telecommunications company for the launch of its Mission Robotic Vehicle (MRV) spacecraft and for selling its Mission Extension Pod (MEP) in a commercial service.
Satellites are highly expensive disposable technologies that are frequently just thrown away even after having potential service efficiency of long time left in them. Satellite propellants can run out of some important component malfunctions, which can cause major issues. Even with all other working part of these spacecraft, a faulty antenna or an exhausted fuel tank can make it useless. The Mission Extension Vehicle-1, the MEP and the MRV are developed to provide services of repairing and replenishing satellites. The Mission Robotic Vehicle (MRV) docks with old satellites and with its robotic arm carries out repairing task and installs MEPs, which are propulsion boosting device that increases the service life of a 4,409 lb satellite by six years in geosynchronous orbit.
With this new launch agreement, SpaceLogistics is expected to provide the MRV for visiting satellites that are operated and owned by Optus, which is purchasing and operating MEPs for its spacecraft, and the SpaceX is providing the partners its launch services. As reported by the companies, the initial launch is expected to take place in 2024 and it will be including an MRV and some MEPs to be installed in an Optus D3 satellite likely in 2025. As per the Northrop Grumman, with this launch, it will be the first time for a robotic spacecraft to stay on station in geosynchronous orbit for inspecting and repairing satellites and installing MEPs.
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