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...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!