SpaceLogistics

SpaceLogistics

It’s impossible to revive a satellite. Until it’s not.

Two engineers assemble the Mission Extension Vehicle spacecraft inside of plant facility

What is SpaceLogistics?

SpaceLogistics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Northrop Grumman, provides cooperative space logistics and in-orbit satellite servicing to geosynchronous satellite operators using its fleet of commercial servicing vehicles—the Mission Extension Vehicle, the Mission Robotic Vehicle and the Mission Extension Pods.

Pioneering a New Market in Space

SpaceLogistics currently provides in-orbit satellite servicing to geosynchronous satellite operators using the Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV)™ which docks with customers’ existing satellites providing the propulsion and attitude control needed to extend their lives. This enables satellite operators to activate new markets, drive asset value and protect their franchises.


Our Life Extension Services

Mission Extension Vehicle

The Mission Extension Vehicle-1 (MEV-1), the industry’s first satellite life extension vehicle, completed its first docking to a client satellite, Intelsat IS-901 on February 25, 2020. MEV is designed to dock to geostationary satellites whose fuel is nearly depleted. Once connected to its client satellite, MEV uses its own thrusters and fuel supply to extend the satellite’s lifetime. When the customer no longer desires MEV’s service, the spacecraft will undock and move on to the next client satellite. The second Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-2) launched August 15, 2020 with the Northrop Grumman-built Galaxy 30 satellite. MEV-2 docked with the Intelsat IS-1002 satellite on April 12, 2021.

SpaceLogistics: MEV Mission Profile Videos

Mission Robotic Vehicle

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected SpaceLogistics as its commercial partner for the agency’s Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program. The groundbreaking mission will feature the first-ever commercial robotic servicing spacecraft and expand the market for satellite servicing of both commercial and government client satellites with advanced robotics technology. The enhanced capabilities include in-orbit repair, augmentation, assembly, detailed inspection and relocation of client satellites.

              Under the agreement, DARPA will provide the robotics payload for the Space Logistics Mission Robotic Vehicle. This payload, developed and integrated by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, consists of two dexterous robotic manipulator arms, along with several tools and sensors. SpaceLogistics will provide its Mission Robotic Vehicle bus leveraging technologies developed for the industry’s first- ever satellite servicing vehicle, the Mission Extension Vehicle.

Mission Extension Pods

Our next generation system, Mission Extension Pods, are a smaller and less expensive life extension service that only performs orbit control. The new pods augment the propulsion system of aging satellites and provide six years of life extension. The Mission Robotic Vehicle will be used to install these pods on existing in-orbit commercial and government client satellites.

MRV AND MEP

Future Capabilities

Our vision is to establish a fleet of commercial servicing vehicles in GEO that can address most any servicing need. Northrop Grumman continues to make deep investments in in-orbit servicing and is working closely with U.S. Government agencies to develop the next generation space logistics technologies. These technologies include robotics and high-power solar electric propulsion to enable future services building upon our keep-it-simple approach to satellite life extension. These future services are expected to include:

  • Propellant augmentation,
  • Inspection and repair,
  • Replacement or enhancement of parts and systems,
  • Incorporation of auxiliary propulsion, navigation, power, payloads and other functions to enhance the performance or extend the satellite’s life,
  • And in-orbit robotic assembly of space structures

We support industry standard architectures to maximize the number of spacecraft that can be serviced in the future.

See Infographic

Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites Program

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected SpaceLogistics as its commercial partner for the agency’s Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program. The groundbreaking mission will feature the first-ever commercial robotic servicing spacecraft and expand the market for satellite servicing of both commercial and government client satellites with advanced robotics technology. The enhanced capabilities include in-orbit repair, augmentation, assembly, detailed inspection and relocation of client satellites.

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Satellite Servicing in Action

MEV News

Mission Extension Vehicle attached to a large satellite orbiting the Earth

Satellite of the Year Award

Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX, announced as Satellite Executive of the Year and Northrop Grumman’s Mission Extension Vehicle-1 named as Satellite Technology of the …

A black and white space image of an Intelsat satellite with Earth in background

Northrop Grumman and Intelsat Make History with Docking of Second Mission Extension Vehicle to Extend Life of Satellite

Successful docking paves the way for future on-orbit and life-extension services through robotics

Teal blue banner of Popular Science best of what's new 2020

MEV-1 Wins Popular Science “Best of What’s New” Award

People wear lab coats in manufacturing setting preparing large parts of a spacecraft.

Northrop Grumman’s Second Mission Extension Vehicle and Galaxy 30 Satellite Begin Launch Preparations in French Guiana

Satellite above earth

Mission Extension Vehicle: Breathing Life Back Into In-Orbit Satellites

The Mission Robotic Vehicle, shown with DARPA's RSGS Robotic Payload is pioneering robotic servicing of satellites. (Artist Rendering)

Northrop Grumman’s Wholly Owned Subsidiary, SpaceLogistics, Selected by DARPA as Commercial Partner for Robotic Servicing Mission