Space Technology: Fixing Up Telstar

Lobbing a working communications satellite out to the fringes of space was a signal achievement. The task of repairing it in orbit seemed wildly improbable. But when Bell Telephone Laboratories' Telstar sullenly ignored a command after four months of faithful performance, Bell's electronic doctors wasted no time. While unresponsive Telstar circled the earth in silence, they spent six frantic weeks in their labs concocting a cure for its ailment.

Practical experience with Relay, the communications satellite built by RCA, was no help. Relay, which went into orbit on Dec. 13, refused to...

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