Lost In Space: The launch industry falters

The launch industry falters

When a $150 million communications satellite was stranded in space last week, the fledgling U.S. commercial launch business may have been set adrift with it. Owned by Intelsat, a Washington-based consortium of 118 countries, , the satellite, which was to handle phone calls and television transmissions, failed to separate on schedule from its booster and tumbled into a useless low orbit. Though Intelsat technicians managed to lift it a bit higher, the five- ton payload nonetheless seemed destined to plunge back to earth within a few months, unless NASA can arrange a rescue by the space shuttle.

Rescue or no, the...

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!