30 years after Intelsat VI rescue, Northrop Grumman aims to make in-space servicing a permanent reality

On 7 May 1992, Space Shuttle Endeavour lifted off on her first voyage at 23:40 UTC from Pad-B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Her target: Intelsat VI F-3 (now known as Intelsat 603). The goal: rendezvous with, repair, and re-release the satellite. In the now-30 years since that mission, on-orbit satellite repair and servicing have largely languished — save for the five Hubble servicing missions Endeavour and the Shuttle fleet would conduct after STS-49. Northrop Grumman now aims to change that in 2024 when their new Mission Robotic Vehicle and Mission Extension Pods begin launching to perform on-orbit satellite servicing and repairs. Endeavour’s first mission and a look to the future One of the selling points of the Space Shuttle system was its ability to not just allow large payloads and satellites to be launched at one time, but that the vehicle was capable of finally enabling on-orbit rescue, repair, and servicing of satellites. This was, in reality, only accomplished a few times in the Shuttle program’s history. But on 7 May 1992, Endeavour stood ready for the STS-49 voyage to do just that. Setting the stage for the flight, Intelsat VI F-3 was launched on a Titan…

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30 years after Intelsat VI rescue, Northrop Grumman aims to make in-space servicing a permanent reality

Updated: May 7, 2022 — 10:26 pm