Orbital ATK has won a second service-satellite contract from Inselsat, and in this case the aerospace and defense contractor both will manufacture and launch the satellite.
Intelsat, a Luxembourg-based communications satellite operator, will use Orbital to launch MEV-2, a so-called Mission Extension Vehicle. The Dulles-Va.-based company also built MEV-1, which French-based Eutelsat expects to launch for Intelsat in late 2018, the companies said Jan. 4.
The satellites will become part of the commercial space industry’s first in-space satellite service system.
There was no immediate estimate of the contract value to publicly traded Orbital (NYSE: OA) or an estimated launch date for MEV-2.
Orbital expects to begin using to perform mission-extension services in “mid-2020.” MEVs use a docking system to attach to a customer’s satellite, taking over the client sat’s orbit maintenance and attitude control functions.
“Intelsat was an early proponent of the potential for mission extension technology,” said Ken Lee, Intelsat’s senior vp for space systems. “In-orbit life extension, such as that provided by our two contracts with Orbital ATK, provides additional flexibility to our fleet management, allowing us to direct capital to new satellites while continuing to generate economic value from satellites in orbit.”
Work on MEV-2 will take place at Orbital facilities in Dulles, San Diego and Goleta, Calif.