Enlarge / The SARah-1 mission is seen on the launch pad in June 2022. (credit: SpaceX)

On the day before Christmas last year, a Falcon 9 rocket launched from California and put two spy satellites into low-Earth orbit for the armed forces of Germany, which are collectively called the Bundeswehr.

Initially, the mission appeared successful. The German satellite manufacturer, OHB, declared that the two satellites were “safely in orbit.” The addition of the two SARah satellites completed a next-generation constellation of three reconnaissance satellites, the company said.

However, six months later, the two satellites have yet to become operational. According to the German publication Der Spiegel, the antennas on the satellites cannot be unfolded. Engineers with OHB have tried to resolve the issue by resetting the flight software, performing maneuvers to vibrate or shake the antennas loose, and more to no avail.

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