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INTELSAT, NASA TEAM TO RESCUE STRANDED COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE

 INTELSAT, NASA TEAM TO RESCUE STRANDED COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE
 Dual Space Rendezvous Among Many 'Firsts' During Endeavour's
 Inaugural Mission
 WASHINGTON, May 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Tonight's maiden launch of space shuttle Endeavour is the initial stage in a first-ever, complex mission orchestrated by INTELSAT and NASA to rescue and reboost a stranded communications satellite.
 According to a weather report given during NASA's countdown briefing this morning, there is a 40 percent chance that the launch will proceed as scheduled during the launch window from 7:06 to 7:54 p.m. EDT. If not, NASA would reschedule the launch for tomorrow. The launch window would begin at 6:36 p.m. EDT.
 Following liftoff, INTELSAT Mission Control in Houston will begin coordinating a series of rendezvous maneuvers to retrieve and redeploy the INTELSAT 603 communications satellite stranded in space since March of 1990. Once Endeavour is on its way toward the rendezvous area, INTELSAT engineers will send a series of signals that will lower the satellite to meet the shuttle in orbit. The actual rendezvous should occur around 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 10.
 In the first spacewalk since 1985, astronauts will capture the satellite, bring it into the shuttle bay and attach the new booster motor that INTELSAT engineers will use to propel 603 into a working geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above the Atlantic Ocean.
 The joint INTELSAT/NASA mission marks a series of "firsts" for both organizations, including:
 -- the first dual active rendezvous for two moving spacecraft;
 -- the first spacewalk since 1985 (and a record number of spacewalks during this mission);
 -- the first in-orbit attachment of a rocket motor to a satellite; and
 -- the first mission in the history of the space program in which NASA will share "mission control" responsibilities with its payload partner.
 "We are proud to be a part of Endeavour's maiden voyage and look forward to realizing the full communications potential of INTELSAT 603," said Pierre Madon, INTELSAT's vice president for engineering and research and director for this mission.
 On March 14, 1990, the INTELSAT VI satellite was stranded after a failed launch attempt. INTELSAT engineers, with the help of NORAD, were able to locate and direct the satellite into a safe -- yet non- functional -- low earth orbit. Sunday's rendezvous mission will culminate two years of cooperation between INTELSAT, NASA and Hughes Aircraft, manufacturer of the INTELSAT VI satellite series and of the special cradle assembly that will carry the reboost motor into space. As part of the planning and preparation, INTELSAT and NASA worked hand-in-hand and conducted six joint simulations in anticipation of every aspect of the mission.
 The INTELSAT 603 satellite represents a vital resource for international telecommunications and will serve as an important trans-Atlantic communications link among 60 nations on four continents. Once redeployed and activated, the satellite will increase global communications capacity and play a role in providing coverage for the Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona.
 INTELSAT, the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization, is an international consortium of 122 member nations that owns and operates the global commercial communications satellite system that serves the entire world.
 Created in 1964, the non-profit cooperative today operates 17 satellites and provides international telecommunications services to 180 countries, territories and dependencies. In addition, INTELSAT provides domestic telecommunications services to some 40 countries.
 -0- 5/7/92
 /NOTE: Further information can be obtained from joint INTELSAT/NASA briefings held each day during the mission at 8 p.m. EDT by calling the contact below./
 /CONTACT: Tony Trujillo or Michael Newsome of INTELSAT, 202-944-7500/ CO: INTELSAT; NASA ST: District of Columbia IN: TLS SU:


MH -- DC013 -- 7609 05/07/92 11:57 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 7, 1992
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