A communications satellite that failed to achieve proper orbit but was salvaged by a return trip to the Moon. Intended for geostationary orbit over Asia, it was launched as AsiaSat 3 in December 1997 on a Proton rocket, but went too low into orbit when the fourth stage fired late. The owner, Asia Satellite Telecommunications of Hong Kong, abandoned the satellite, which was assumed by Hughes Global Services Inc. Using an untried manoeuvre, Hughes fired an on-board motor in May 1998 to send AsiaSat 3 on a nine-day trip to the Moon, using the Moon's gravity to return it to the correct Earth orbit. It was renamed HGS-1 and now performs normally in geostationary orbit over the Americas, the Atlantic, and part of west Africa.
Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.