The two Northrop Grumman-built passengers for Arianespace’s upcoming Ariane 5 flight are undergoing pre-launch checkout at the Spaceport in preparation for this mission’s July 28 liftoff.
Being processed in the Spaceport’s S5 payload processing facility are Galaxy 30 (G-30) and the Mission Extension Vehicle-2 (MEV-2) – both of which are slated to serve Intelsat, which operates the world’s largest integrated satellite and terrestrial network. Galaxy 30 and MEV-2 to be stacked on Ariane 5
They will be integrated in a stacked configuration on Ariane 5, riding in the launch vehicle’s upper payload position for release first during the flight to geostationary transfer orbit. This mission is designated Flight VA253 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system, signifying the 253rd launch since the European Ariane family began operation in 1979.
G-30 is the first in Intelsat’s Galaxy fleet replacement program. Its C-band relay capacity will be integral to the U.S. C-band spectrum transition plan that Intelsat is collaborating on with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. Additionally, G-30 is to provide Ku- and Ka-band relay capability in support of broadband applications, and it carries the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) hosted payload for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration – offering extremely accurate navigation for civil aviation.
Based on Northrop Grumman’s flight-proven GEOStar-2 platform, G-30 is the 11th Northrop Grumman-built satellite purchased by Intelsat. MEV-2 will extend the Intelsat 1002 satellite’s lifetime.
The MEV-2 passenger for Flight VA253 was supplied by Space Logistics LLC, a wholly owned Northrop Grumman subsidiary, and is designed to dock with geostationary satellites whose fuel has nearly depleted, thereby extending their useful lifetimes. After its deployment by Ariane 5, MEV-2 will rendezvous and dock in early 2021 with the Intelsat 1002 (IS-1002) satellite, originally launched in 2004. The Mission Extension Vehicle is to utilize its own thrusters and fuel supply to control the IS-1002 satellite’s orbit.
Joining MEV-2 and G-30 on Ariane 5 for Flight VA253 will be the BSAT-4b broadcasting satellite, which will be orbited by Arianespace as part of a turnkey contract between the Japanese operator B-SAT and the satellite manufacturer, Maxar.