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Intelsat 901
Intelsat 901.jpg
Intelsat 901 seen in orbit by MEV-1
Mission typeCommunications
COSPAR ID2001-024A
SATCAT no.26824
Mission durationPlanned: 13 years
Elapsed: 19 years, 8 months, 11 days
Spacecraft properties
BusSSL 1300
ManufacturerSpace Systems/Loral
Launch mass4,723.0 kilograms (10,412.4 lb)
Power8,6 kW
Start of mission
Launch date9 June 2001, 06:45 (2001-06-09UTC06:45Z) UTC
RocketAriane 44L V141
Launch siteCentre Spatial Guyanais, ELA-2
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
LongitudeFirst orbital position: 67.5° W
Current orbital position: 27.5° W
Period1,436.1 minutes
Epoch9 June 2001
Bandwidth36 and 72 MHz
EIRPC-band global beam 36 dBW
C-band Hemi Beam 38 dBW
C-band beam zone 38 dBW
Ku-band 53 dBW Europe Spot 1
Ku-band 52 dBw Europe Spot 2
Intelsat 9
← Intelsat 806 (Intelsat 8)

Intelsat 901 (IS-901) was the first of nine new Intelsat satellites launched in June 2001 at 342°E, providing Ku-band spot beam coverage for Europe and C-band coverage for the Atlantic Ocean region. It is capable of selectable split uplink for SNG, tailored for increased communications demands such as DTH and Internet.


  • Increased power – IS-901 is designed to provide up to 5 dB for downlink EIRP, and up to 1.8 dB for G/T over the IS-VII satellites.
  • Increased Capacity – With over 72 C-band 36 MHz equivalent unit transponders, IS-901 provides a significant increase in capacity over the previous satellite at 342°E.
  • Improved Coverage – IS-901 provides significantly expanded zone coverage. The Ku-band spot beams also include more areas within each zone.

Intelsat 901 was launched by an Ariane 4 from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana on 9 June 2001 at 3:45 local time (6:45 GMT).[1][2]

Encounter with Russian Olymp satellite

On 9 October 2015, SpaceNews reported that in April 2015, the Russian satellite Olymp-K had moved to within 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) of Intelsat 901 and the nearby Intelsat 7, causing concerns of a safety-of-flight incident. Attempts by Intelsat to contact the Russian satellite operators were unsuccessful and no reason for the satellite's movement was given by the Russian government. The move sparked classified meetings within the Department of Defense and heightened suspicions that Olymp-K satellite was performing signals intelligence, or was possibly an anti-satellite weapon.[3]

Mission Extension Vehicle-1

On 9 October 2019, Mission Extension Vehicle-1 (MEV-1) launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a Proton-M rocket. Its mission is to dock with Intelsat 901 and extend its operational lifespan by performing station-keeping for the aging satellite.[4] Before the docking of MEV-1 and Intelsat 901, ground controllers transitioned customers off of Intelsat 901 and moved the satellite to a graveyard orbit in December 2019 so that IS37e could use its orbital slot.

Docking occurred on 25 February 2020 at 07:15 UTC. MEV-1 rendezvoused with Intelsat 901, reached out with mechanical fingers, and grabbed the target craft using its liquid propellant engine as a grapple point to pull the two satellites together.[5] Over the next two months, Northrop Grumman and satellite prime contractor Space Systems/Loral performed tests on the satellites' systems before using MEV-1 to lower Intelsat 901 back to the geosynchronous arc to the 27.5° West (332.5° East) orbital slot, where it will remain for five years.[6]

On 17 April 2020, Intelsat and Northrop Grumman announced that Intelsat 901 had officially returned to operational service on 2 April 2020 at its new orbital slot. The satellite replaces Intelsat 907, a 17-year-old satellite now four years past its design life. After five years, MEV-1 will move Intelsat 901 back to a final graveyard orbit and release it before moving to another potential client.[7][8]


  • Total Transponders: Ku-Band up to 22 (in equiv. 36 MHz units)
  • Polarization: Ku-Band Linear - Horizontal or Vertical
  • Uplink Frequency: Ku-Band 14.00 to 14.50 GHz
  • Downlink Frequency: Ku-Band 10.95 to 11.20 GHz and 11.45 to 11.70 GHz
  • G/T (Ku-Band) (Beam Peak): Spot 1: up to +9.0 dB/K, Spot 2: up to +9.0 dB/K
  • SFD Range (Beam Edge): Ku-Band -87.0 to -69.0 dBW/m2


  1. ^ "Arianespace Today Lofted the Intelsat 901 Satellite for the Intelsat Telecommunications Organization". France: Briganti et Associés. 9 June 2001. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Ariane 44L". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 2 March 2015.
  3. ^ Gruss, Mike (9 October 2015). "Russian Satellite Maneuvers, Silence Worry Intelsat". SpaceNews. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Space Logistics Services". Northrop Grumman. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  5. ^ Clark, Stephen (26 February 2020). "Two commercial satellites link up in space for first time". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  6. ^ Chang, Kenneth (26 February 2020). "A Meeting in Orbit Demonstrates a Space Junk Solution". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Intelsat 901 Satellite Returns to Service Using Northrop Grumman's Mission Extension Vehicle". Northrop Grumman (Press release). 17 April 2020. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  8. ^

External links

This page was last edited on 16 February 2021, at 14:37
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