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Data relay craft manages to talk to another satellite

The big data relay satellite that NASA almost gave up for lost four months ago has succeeded in ''talking'' to another satellite in orbit for the first time, a project official said.

The operation was a major step in efforts to ready the $100 million communications satellite for tests with the space shuttle Challenger shortly after launch Aug. 30, and for the important Spacelab mission in late October.

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The official said the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite successfully relayed engineering data Sunday between the Landsat 4 spacecraft and the control center at White Sands, N.M.