Communications: Enter Intersputnik

Sponsored chiefly by the U.S., the four-year-old International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium (Intelsat) has four satellites in the sky, links 62 nations around the globe and is considered a highly successful outpost of free enterprise in space. It is so successful, in fact, that Russia has decided to bid for a piece of the action. It is now planning its own global space-communications network, Intersputnik.

When and if it goes into operation, the Intersputnik satellite will weigh more than 1,000 Ibs. That would make it about four times bigger than the newest Intelsat models, the first of which is to be...

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