WASHINGTON — Northrop Grumman’s satellite servicing spacecraft successfully docked with an Intelsat communications satellite Feb. 25 in a bid to keep the nearly 19-year-old satellite in service an additional five years, Northrop Grumman and Intelsat executives said Feb. 26.
Northrop Grumman’s Mission Extension Vehicle-1, which launched in October, underwent months of in-orbit testing before finally docking with Intelsat-901 in a so-called graveyard orbit 300 kilometers above the geostationary arc where most large communications satellites operate. The docking occurred Feb. 25 at 2:15 a.m. Eastern.
MEV-1 and Intelsat-901 will undergo additional checkouts as a combined stack before Northrop Grumman moves them into the geostationary arc so Intelsat-901 can resume service in late March. MEV-1 will remain attached to Intelsat-901 and use its own thrusters to keep the satellite properly oriented in orbit.
“This is the first time in history a docking has ever been performed with a satellite that was not pre-designed with docking in mind, and the first time two commercial satellites have ever docked,” said Joe Anderson, vice president of operations and business development at SpaceLogistics, Northrop Grumman’s subsidiary focused on satellite servicing, on a Feb. 26 call with reporters.
MEV-1 launched on an International Launch Services Proton rocket in early October and used onboard electric propulsion to raise its orbit to that of Intelsat-901’s by Feb. 1, Anderson said. The 2,300-kilogram servicer then completed a series of calibrations and tests of cameras and rendezvous systems while approaching Intelsat-901, pausing 80 meters from the satellite Feb. 24, Anderson said.
The next day Northrop Grumman moved MEV-1 next to Intelsat-901 and docked with the satellite using a capture mechanism that went “through the throat” of Intelsat-901’s apogee engine, Anderson said.
Northrop Grumman is currently building a second MEV for Intelsat that is on track to launch later this year, according to Tom Wilson, SpaceLogistics president and vice president of Northrop Grumman Space Systems. Arianespace is slated to launch MEV-2 on an Ariane 5 rocket.
A Intelsat executive told reporters Feb. 26 that the MEV-1 docking operation went so well that the team plans to dock MEV-2 with its host satellite in geostationary orbit rather than take it temporarily out of service in order to conduct the rendezvous in a higher orbit.
“This is a good pathway to the next docking for MEV-2, which we intend to do with customers on the satellite,” said Jean-Luc Froeliger, Intelsat’s vice president of satellite operations and engineering. “We’re very confident that we will have minimum perturbations of our services on our next docking.”
Intelsat has not publicly identified the host satellite for the MEV-2 mission.
In designing the MEV servicing spacecraft, Northrop Grumman combined its GEOStar communications satellite bus with elements of the Cygnus cargo tug the company uses to deliver supplies to International Space Station, Anderson said.
Northrop Grumman had previously expected to launch MEV-1 in 2018. Wilson said the additional year of preparation allowed Northrop Grumman to incorporate additional safety measures, such as the inclusion of patented technology to avoid electrostatic discharges on orbit.
Intelsat is Northrop Grumman’s first and so far only customer for MEV satellite life extension missions. Now that MEV-1 has demonstrated its ability to dock, Northrop Grumman is hopeful it can attract new customers.
“For years we heard customers say, ‘if you were there now we would use your service.’ Now we are here,” Wilson said.
MEVs are designed for 15 years of service, meaning Northrop Grumman can eventually use MEV-1 and the future MEV-2 to service spacecraft beyond its Intelsat contracts.
Wilson said that while nothing precludes Northrop Grumman from building additional MEVs beyond the first two, the company is focused on another system that uses a so-called Mission Robotic Vehicle mothership to attach smaller Mission Extension Pods to satellites. Northrop Grumman has three prospective customers interested in using the next-generation pod system, Wilson said.
Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler said Intelsat-901 will enter service at the 332.5 degrees east orbital slot, where it will cover North and South America, Africa and Europe using C-band transponders and steerable Ku-band beams. The satellite will replace Intelsat-907, a 17-year-old satellite now four years past its design life.
Intelsat-901 and Intelsat-907 are nearly identical satellites, Spengler said. The MEVs allow Intelsat to defer spending on new replacement satellites by keeping old but still useful satellites in service, he said.
Intelsat-901 had only a few months of remaining fuel before it would have needed to retire for good in a graveyard orbit, Froeliger said.
Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event: start time and how to watch – The Verge
Samsung Galaxy Unpacked is set to begin on Wednesday, August 10th.
Leading up to the event, Samsung has left us with breadcrumbs about what they’re going to announce at their Galaxy Unpacked event. Leaks and other clues have revealed that Samsung may be announcing an updated foldable to match last year’s announcement and release.
We also have a guess that there might be some new Galaxy Watches to announce as Samsung released a reservation for a trade-in for the Galaxy smartphone, smartwatch, and earbuds.
When does the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event take place?
The Samsung Galaxy event is set to take place on Wednesday, August 10th, 2022, at 6AM PT / 9AM ET.
Where can I watch the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event?
We will have the livestream video embedded up top, so you can stick around here to watch when it begins. Otherwise, you can tune in to the Galaxy Unpacked livestream at Samsung.com, Samsung’s Newsroom, and Samsung’s YouTube channel.
Samsung Galaxy Unpacked: How to watch Samsung announce its latest foldable phones – ZDNet
On Wednesday, Samsung is expected to announce new foldable phones, wireless earbuds, and a new Galaxy Watch. If all of the leaks and rumors are true, that means we’ll see the Galaxy Z Fold 4, Z Flip 4, Buds 2 Pro and the Galaxy Watch 5 (and maybe even a Pro model).
Who knows, Samsung could have other products lined up for announcement. We simply won’t know what all it entails until the livestream ends.
When is Samsung Galaxy Unpacked?
The event kicks off early Wednesday, Aug. 10, with the livestream starting at 9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT. There isn’t an in-person element to the event as companies continue to stick to a virtual-only approach for product announcements.
Here are the different international times for your reference:
- New York: 9 a.m. ET
- San Francisco: 6 a.m. PT
- London: 2 p.m. GMT
- Berlin: 3 p.m. CET
- Mumbai: 9:30 p.m. IT
- Tokyo: 11 a.m. JT Jan. 15
- Sydney: 1 a.m. AEDT Jan. 15
How to what Samsung Galaxy Unpacked
If you want to tune in and watch the announcements as they’re made, then you’re in luck. Samsung is broadcasting the livestream across several different platforms. Here’s everywhere you can watch the official stream:
What to expect from Samsung Galaxy Unpacked
Samsung itself has dropped some major hints about what to expect from the announcement. Certainly, there are new foldable phones — likely the Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 — on tap to be announced.
In addition to the new phones, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch5 appears set to get an upgrade, with a new Watch5 Pro model, which early leaks indicate will be more rugged and more of a competitor to Garmin’s line of smartwatches.
Finally, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro appear primed for an upgrade with the Buds 2 Pro adding new active noise cancellation features and a refreshed design to the company’s completely wireless earbuds.
We’ll have full event coverage as Samsung’s latest Galaxy Unpacked event kicks off bright and early on Wednesday, Aug. 10.
What’s something you’re hoping to see Samsung announce during the event? Let us know in the comments below.
Apple might bring back Status Bar battery percentage with iOS 16 – MobileSyrup
In classic Apple fashion, the tech giant could bring back a feature it never should have removed.
In iOS 16 beta 5, the battery percentage indicator in the ‘Status Bar’ has returned. The tech giant nixed the functionality alongside the release of the iPhone X back in 2017. Though it’s been possible to view battery life in the iPhone’s settings, glancing down at your device and seeing a specific number in the status bar is far more convenient.
According to 9to5Mac, reading the percentage in the latest version of iOS 16’s beta is as simple as navigating to ‘Settings,’ selecting ‘Battery’ and then turning on a new Battery Percentage option. There’s a possibility that the feature could be enabled by default when the public version of iOS 16 releases this September. When I downloaded iOS 16 beta 5 on my iPhone 13 Pro, the option to add a battery percentage (seen in the photo above) appeared under the Battery section of the settings app.
The percentage is visible while charging, in low-power mode and during general use, as long as the feature has been enabled. Interestingly, 9to5Mac says that the option to add the battery percentage to the iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 13 mini is not available in iOS 16 beta 5.
Given how perplexing it was that Apple ditched the battery percentage option in the first place, it’s great to see it finally returning. That said, it’s difficult to celebrate functionality that shouldn’t have been gotten rid of in the first place.
Still, it looks like the battery percentage indicator is coming back, and it seems Apple has finally listened to the criticism surrounding its removal.
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