Special Coverage

NEOSSat Captures Satellite Servicing Demo in Progress as Part of Phantom Echoes Experiment

NEOSSat imagery tracking the Mission Extension Vehicle-1 (MEV-1) approaching Intelsat 901 in GEO orbit. Credit: Department of National Defence.

Canada’s NEOSSat satellite is playing a role in the space situational awareness Phantom Echoes experiment and recently captured imagery of the North Grumman Mission Extension Vehicle-1 spacecraft approaching Intelsat 901 in GEO.

The Department of National Defence is taking part in the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) space situational awareness Phantom Echoes experiment along with other Five-Eyes nations which includes the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand.

According to DSTL “the experiment aims to demonstrate how allied SSA sensors and processing capabilities can be integrated to enhance the performance over individual systems working independently to improve Space safety for UK and allied satellites in and near Geostationary Orbit. A combination of simulation and real-world events will be used to understand the strengths and constraints of each system that will advise the development of operational SSA architectures within the Coalition Space Operations (CSPO) initiative.”

In the video below NEOSSat imagery is used to track the MEV-1 spacecraft approaching Intelsat 901.

The DSTL further states that the “cooperative observation campaign will be conducted using allied ground-based telescopes and Space-based sensors to observe the Northrop Grumman Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV) that was launched into Geostationary Transfer Orbit (at 36,000km altitude above Earth’s surface) on 09 October 2019 from Kazakhstan. The first of its kind, MEV will dock with a commercial communications satellite approximately 300km above Geostationary Orbit and provide manoeuvre capability that extends the lifetime of the host. The Phantom Echoes team will use this event to understand the challenges posed in observing this unique mission as the two satellite manoeuvre towards each other and perform docking operations.”

Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-1) mission profile

About Marc Boucher

Marc Boucher
Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive Inc. Boucher has 20 years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 28 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.