A New Satellite Is Preparing To Repair An Old Satellite

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Northrop Grumman’s Mission Extension Vehicle is currently closing in on Intelsat 901 with a daring plan to provide it new propulsion and stabilization capability so that its communications gear can continue to provide service for years to come.
The idea of repairing satellites in space is not a new one, but has largely been limited to Space Shuttle missions crewed by astronauts, making them only viable for things like the Hubble Space Telescope.
But now a new class of robotic repair satellites are preparing to start giving old satellites a new lease of life at a fraction of the cost of a new spacecraft.

  1. Danie Jansen van Vuuren

    Cool! I can change a wall plug, where do I send my cv?

  2. Pronto

    0:13 is that an engine failure? Raw hydrazine/whatever in the exhaust plume?

  3. Andrew Reynolds

    It’s good to see that there are companies out there working on solutions to real world problems like this.

  4. Protheus

    Thank you for your content, Scott.

  5. Ian Christie

    Can you do a video on the Dragonfly (the Titan copter probe) particularly on communication over that distance without any orbital relay booster.

  6. Squirrel Gray

    Whoa congrats on the 1 mil subs :D

  7. Vincent Fischer

    0:13 do they dump their toilet content like they do in planes?

  8. James Beemer

    I’m having trouble articulating what I mean .
    I feel a meterial while installing and using it . Most times I can feel.a flaw . A computer can not . Nore can it make a judge ment call .

  9. Bob K

    The robots are maintaining themselves! Skynet confirmed

  10. Ribbon

    That docking maneuver looks nasty

  11. Daniel Hall

    It would be great if a similar MEV could be used to keep Hubble functioning longer

  12. Duck Goes Quack

    3:35 nice ;)

  13. JL Arm

    NSFW: This is how baby sats are made

  14. Jerbo 1

    @5:55 I thought it was Space Systems Yanni?

  15. Jbot123

    That’s really amazing. That should really help extend the life of a lot of sats and reduce the overall cost of space tech.

  16. Robert Waller

    This is really cool. I’ve just started a masters degree in satellite engineering with a focus on formation flying and docking of satellites. My plans are to demonstrate a fully autonomous formation flight and dock on a 3DOF air bearing satellite simulator.

  17. Mach210

    The Intelsat series are just Intelsat 1 (EarlyBird) through Nine and now Ten, ie nine oh one, ten oh two etc. Not one zero zero two

  18. n/a n/a

    We need something like this for the Webb.

  19. Marc’s Fx

    I’d love to fly around mending satellites and stay at the space hotel….😊

  20. TheLittlestMig

    Now that is coolest news I’ve heard in years!

  21. Phil Swede4Trump

    “repair” will be what every other nation will think…

  22. Mark Brown

    That is so cool!!!! A great way of starting to reuse/recycle what would have been spacejunk

  23. Bobby Benfield

    I love this kind of stuff! This is the coolest stuff in space now

  24. Oofa20 Productions

    3:46 mmmmmm ;)

  25. Geron Looney

    3:55 Now we know where baby satellites come from

  26. Garret Jacobs

    5:38 Space systems Yanny?

  27. Sander Kamp

    This genuinely made me smile! Graveyard orbits are a Kessler Syndrome waiting to happen.

  28. deereboy8400

    7:06 RSGS looks like a great big _

  29. Forcemaster2000

    We are the aliens now! The extension vehicle will “probe” the intelsat’s A$$!

  30. Passeron

    Really Scott you too

  31. danaflops

    I wish they’d launch a mission like this to boost Hubble

  32. alan doak

    This might’ve been explained in another vid…. what’s up with that orange (hypergolic fuel?) being dumped at 15secs?

  33. Miky Schuster

    Ok is it just me or does the “docking” task look somehow dirty ?
    I hope the asked for permission!

  34. David3 Wiest

    3:44 hmmm suspicious

  35. raumfährebordschütze

    Ah! MEV-sama! I can feel your probe expanding in my thrust chamber! If you keep on like this I might- ah! ah!

  36. jonskowitz

    I was wondering if a similar mission might not be able to extend Hubble’s mission another decade or two

  37. OtakuMage

    Sounds like Space AAA is getting off the ground nicely.

  38. Jimmy Holloway

    Oh hell yeah! It’s the Satellite of Love! “In the not too distant future…”

  39. spaceman9599

    Finally, recycling in space :) This has always been one of my favourite ‘what if’ space systems engineering/business cases. Cool to see it taking off finally!

  40. J. Donaldson

    5:34 Anybody else hear Pink Floyd – Empty Spaces during this clip?

  41. Carde

    This is some truly cool stuff, it really brings an other bit of science fiction into science reality.

  42. Games & Entertainment Animator & Fiddler

    As an Animation producer and enthusiast, I would love to see production credits for those animated sequences. Thanks.

  43. Colin Merritt

    When two satellites love each other very much….

  44. jpdemer5

    “Just the tip…”

  45. RosGuys

    This is the beggining of space pirates, we’ll see nations and companies stealing from each other

  46. TechyBen

    I do this in KSP so regularly… I launch everything with a docking point. Lol.

  47. Ace Athor

    This morning 02/07 at 6 am French time, I saw a line of at least 6 or 7 satelites very close together from each other heading south-east.

  48. JoelleEmmily

    “My function is to probe for biological infestations, to destroy that which is not perfect. I am Nomad.”

  49. Lithostheory

    But what service satellite will repair the service satellite?

  50. Jake H

    @3:43 “…and that is where nanosats come from…”

  51. A R

    Damnit Jim! I’m a robot, not a doctor!

  52. Edmund Resor

    I think it would be cool to do the piggy back method for the hubble when its reaction wheels fail.

  53. Gillian Orley

    3:42 It’s almost pornographic.

  54. Beefcakes0

    I’ve never been so early but I’m just as happy when I watch these videos

  55. m4ti140

    3:43 *Mwah* G’night everybody!

  56. Scooch

    Whoah! Uhhh huh huhh that satelite is gonna score beavis… science kicks ass

  57. Saimons

    This should be happening sometimes tommorow/this evening (depending on timezones). will happen during the night (so that ground based sensors can keep an eye on things) over Hawaii.

  58. Darkchylde50

    That’s how you also decommission or deorbit enemy sats ^_~

  59. jhon doe

    in 50 years there will be so much stuff attached to it that it will be the size of a death star and gain consciousness 😧 😧 😧

  60. Plebdominus Rex

    3:41 In the words of Markiplier
    “That looks so sexual…I am turned ON!!”

  61. RocKITEman _ 2001

    FWIW: That _nozzle docking_ thing reminded me that I had a medical appointment just a couple of days ago, and I got _the finger wave,_ if you take my meaning…😊

  62. Jeffrey Bue

    This is so cool! I always felt there was a market for extending the life of GEO satellites. We are currently living in a great time for space exploration. Thank you for making these videos Scott. This channel has the most interesting and excellently delivered content for us space nerds.

  63. Piñata Oblongata

    Remember how those reaction wheels failed with internal arcing and pitting? How protected would those robotic arm joints have to be?

  64. Buck Deniston

    Mother of god this is total Thunderbird 3 action. It is so good to be alive today.

  65. PsychoLucario

    it’d be cool if they took the lessons learned from this and service hubble before it crashes sometime in the next decade

  66. Dabbing Kerbonaut

    Hoo yes! This is interesting!

  67. John F

    Great idea, if it works. Hopefully goes well. Another sign that cooperation is key. Not only in space. Humanity needs to learn to cooperate in all disciplines. Or quite frankly were done.

  68. twistedyogert

    3:19 I know this is supposed to be a serious video but I started snickering when I heard that for the first time.

  69. Antique Perfection

    Anybody else hear ‘Space Systems Yanny’ at 5:40? 😎

  70. Fantazzim

    I hope they find a way to service Hubble to keep it going for a while longer.

  71. The crap adventures of Che Simons

    For some reason, nearly every time you or anyone else covers one of these ‘new’ concepts I think to myself “finally! shouldn’t we have already been doing that?”
    I guess the figuring out part has to wait until the need is no longer in the future (ie you will need this in your tenure as ceo, rather than the next guy will need this).
    Is that really pessimistic?

  72. Benjamin H. Brissenden

    This visual made me feel really uncomfortable.

  73. staggerwings

    The MEV reminds me of those early animations of a retrovirus attaching itself to a cell wall.

  74. Daniel

    Could somethings like this happen to Hubble to repair the reaction wheels?

  75. Bram Moerman

    This is seriously cool. I have, somewhere in my collection of Analog magazines, a story about an astronaut who had a short notice launch to go up and repair a satellite. One of the concerns raised in the story was about electrical potential that might have been built up in the satellite while it had been in orbit. I must dig out the story and re-read it. . . It goes back to about 1965. . .
    It had never occurred to me that the moon would have an effect on the position of the Geostationary Satellites. . . The implication is that there is no such thing as a permanent orbit for ANY satellite. . . Am I correct? The Moon is, indeed, a Harsh Mistress.

  76. Elopeous

    I am happy we finally got the grabber unit from the techtree

  77. Ulf Jönsson

    talking about Sat on sat action :P

  78. Lithostheory

    3:43 The satellite equivalent of the kiss of life :^D

  79. ind0ctr1n3

    3:43 Oo Intelsat-san…

  80. Awgolas

    Scientist 1: “Well, there’s no docking port, so it looks like IntelSat is totally f*cked. F*cked right in the thruster nozzle.”
    Scientist 2: “…Okay I have an idea. It’s gonna sound weird but just hear me out.”

  81. SundayRide Texas

    When real life is just as cool as science fiction. Ty for the cool science video.

  82. KarpKomet

    Sounds like Satellites are gonna have gas caps soon.

  83. misium

    3:38″ It will maneuver behind it, insert a probe into it and grab its thrust chamber”.

  84. lbogaardt

    8:20 Can this also be used to de-orbit old satellites?

  85. Chris From SouthAus

    4:00 And that kids, is where cubesats come from

  86. Oscar Mendez

    Gives new meaning to the term “fly safe”

  87. John Daniel Esguerra

    80% – Satellite Rule 34
    15% – Earth is Kerbin
    5% – Actual curious people. (Deorbiting, recycling, stuff)

  88. RideNV

    Reduce, reuse, and recycle…. in spaaaaaace

  89. zapfanzapfan

    Grab it by the thrust chamber… sounds dirty somehow :-)

  90. Cody'sLab

    Oh this is so exciting!

  91. Penny Lane

    “mated” seems like the right word given how you described that mating procedure… 😳

  92. David Messer

    This is very dangerous. Using the “claw” can release the Kraken.

  93. Lithostheory

    3:45… I hope they discussed consent before probing.

  94. ChevronTango

    I was half expecting the refuelling sat to be a giant orange tank with a Clamp-O-Tron on it

  95. linuxophile

    “inserting the probe into the thrust chamber” made me giggle.

  96. bami2

    So they didn’t just rotate some landing legs in awkward orientation so they could grab the satellite?

  97. John Richards

    We be having baby-sats in 9 months.

  98. The Lonely Rogue

    Reality gets more Kerbal every day.

  99. Anthony C

    Time to put a Docking Port Jr. on every new satellite!

  100. Craig Mushens

    MEV: “this is going to feel… weird”
    [sound of latex glove snapping]
    IntelSat: “WTF!”

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