This article was written by IWP doctoral candidate Matthew Jenkins.
On April 12, Northrop Grumman’s Mission Extension Vehicle-2 (MEV-2) successfully docked with a geostationary communications satellite, Intelsat 10-02. It is easy to see the applications for this technology. Besides extending the lives of satellites running out of propellant, for example, one can imagine satellites carrying less fuel in the first place, freeing up more weight for payloads. It’s easy to get caught up in the potential applications of this technology. Yet, while this accomplishment is substantial and noteworthy, it is not the first time satellite to have conducted rendezvous and proximity operations (RPO) to service another satellite.