Space: A Hot-Wiring Job in Orbit

Astronauts use an earthly trick to start a satellite

As one of the shuttle Discovery's television cameras recorded the dramatic moment, a 7 1/2-ft. antenna folded against the topside of the LEASAT 3 communications satellite suddenly began to move. "Here she comes," exulted William Fisher to his space-walking companion, James van Hoften, "looking good, buddy." As the antenna reached its final upright position, Fisher could not contain himself. "Allll riiight!" he shouted.

After circling lifelessly in a low-earth orbit ever since its launch during a Discovery mission last April, the $85 million satellite had finally stirred, apparently revived by the astronauts' daring rescue operation. LEASAT last week was responding to...

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