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A Game of Capture the Satellite
News story originally written on November 25, 1997

It was late in the evening when two astronauts approached the spinning 3,000 pound satellite. They reached out to grab the lost satellite and bring it safely back to the U.S. space shuttle. This may sound like a clip out of a recent science fiction movie, but this is the story of the lost SPARTAN satellite.

The SPARTAN satellite was sent up in the U.S. space shuttle. It was to be released into space for two full days. During this time it was to make observations of the Sun that would verify data collected by the SOHO mission. The satellite failed to activate when it was released. Columbia tried to catch the failed satellite, only to nudge it into a slow spin while attempting to capture it with the robotic arm.

NASA decided to send astronauts Scott and Doi on a spacewalk to capture the satellite. The two men retrieved the satellite around 9p.m. last night.

A captured satellite is not the only excitement involved in this mission. Doi, age 43, became the first Japanese spacewalker last night during the rescue mission.

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