Stranded Satellite Will Be Sent Around Moon for ‘Slingshot’ Effect.


In the first trip to the moon by a private company, scientists from Hughes Space and Communications Co. will send a communications satellite to the moon in an effort to “slingshot” the craft into geosynchronous orbit around the Earth. The satellite, AsiaSat 3, has been stranded in a useless low orbit since its failed launch last Christmas.

Hughes scientists have fired its Russian Proton booster rocket several times to lift it into a higher orbit. The final firing on May 7 will send it into a figure-eight orbit to the moon and back. The team hopes that the slingshot effect from that trip will enable them to place the satellite in the correct Earth orbit.

Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II