Oct 102019

Intelsat successfully launch their “Mission Extension Vehicle, or MEV” for their old satellites – Major Intelsat 907 News for BBC Satback

This one is for those watching / hacking into the Freeview back up on Intelsat 907 for their 10 channel UK TV fix!

The Intelsat 907 satellite is approaching its end of life…we have known this for a few years now. In fact, a few months ago Intelsat updated their “Estimated End Of Life” expectancy for the Intelsat-907 satellite to Q1 2020. This is cutting it fine for a replacement!

However Intelsat have launched (on Wednesday 9th October 2019) their first “Mission Extension Vehicle, or MEV” which can dock with satellites and take over propulsion.

The first test for the MEV1 is on the Intelsat 901 satellite, which is also running low on fuel. The Intelsat 901 satellite launched in June 2001 aboard an Ariane 4 rocket for a mission originally designed to last at least 13 years. The MEV is expected to extent the life by a further 5 years.

After testing, i quote

“The MEV’s fuel-efficient, xenon-fed ion thrusters will steer the Intelsat 901 satellite toward a new operating post at 27.5 degrees west longitude. Intelsat 901’s current orbit takes the satellite about 1.5 degrees north and south of the equator during each 24-hour orbit.”


So it looks like Intelsat 901 will be moving to 27.5 West and taking over I907s operations…assuming the MEV docks fine with I901, and the tests work, and can move it to 27.5w.

This would be great news for those who use the BBC SATBACK service for their UK TV needs, like those in the south of Spain, Portugal, and for caravanners and mobilehomers.

However, looking at the beams / footprints for Intelsat 901s, it has a few “wide beams”, and two “spot beams”…which may cause trouble if Satback is to move onto these spot beams and they do not cover southern Spain when I901 is in position….

Intelsat 901 Spot beam

So we shall have to wait and see what happens early 2020

Intelsat 907 at 27.5 West – BBC SATBACK

Ray F : “Hopefully, this then gives the Satellite operating company (LYNGSAT) plenty of time to launch brand new satellites to eventually take over from intelsat 907/901.” – Lyngsat do not operate any satellites, they are a satellite listings website. Intelsat operate the Intelsat satellites!!!!


  9 Responses to “Intelsat successfully launch their “Mission Extension Vehicle, or MEV” for their old satellites – Major Intelsat 907 News for BBC Satback at 27.5 West”

  1. Assuming they know people are tapping into it, you would think they would change the footprint to stop it.

    • Oh, they know people are “tapping” into it (they even posted links to my pages about it on their internal network!!) but they can either change the codes (which they have not done for a few years now) , change the encryption to a more secure form of encryption, and yes, change to a more UK focused beam.

      • On Sunday 11sh am, the satellite doesn’t seem to be launched very well as I don’t have satellite TV reception anymore

        • Erm, there is no new satellite being launched.
          A device to power and manouver the 901 satellite has been launched.
          Early 2020, 901 will move to 27.5 west and take over from 907.
          907 is still working…if you do not have reception any more then that is nothing to do with the satellite and more with your system..

  2. Today, for the first time in the space industry a “life extension” spacecraft successfully docked with a satellite.

    The MEV-1 vehicle connected to Intelsat’s IS-901 yesterday, giving the satellite new life after it was running low on fuel.

    After tests, I901 is expected to be moved to 27.5 west and take over I907s operations

  3. But, just to confirm what you said before Satman I assume there is unfortunately a good chance that I901 will only give a spot beam as it currently does and not over Spain? Hence Satback lost 🙁

    • I901 has multiple beams…two are steerable spot beams, so for BBC Satback, it depends on how they are used and configured for whichever service they carry.

  4. […] For more information on the plan to replace the Intelsat 907 satellite, as posted here. […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.