Satellite Boy: The International Manhunt for a Master Thief That Launched the Modern Communication Age
Satellite Boy is a page-turning narrative nonfiction project that combines the race to develop the first international communications satellite with the hunt to capture one of the world’s master criminals.
On April 6, 1965, Georges Lemay was relaxing on his yacht at the Bahia Mar Marina in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was feeling confident that neither the FBI, Interpol, nor the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had any clue of his whereabouts. After all, he’d been on the run for years and still had what amounted to several million dollars socked away after a bold and brilliantly executed burglary of a Montreal branch of the Bank of Nova Scotia – one of the largest bank heists in Canadian history.
What Lemay didn’t know was that less than two-hundred miles away aerospace engineer Harold Rosen’s dream of a twenty-four hour commercial communications satellite was about to come true. Intelsat I, nicknamed “Early Bird,” had just been launched at Cape Canaveral—and it was going to derail Lemay’s cushy life as a playboy yachtsman. Soon, Lemay’s mugshot would be flashed into millions of households during the world’s first intercontinental television broadcast. Five days later, Lemay was in custody. For the first time in history, a criminal was apprehended using an international communications satellite. Though the two men never met, Lemay and Rosen helped usher in a new era, one of international police investigations and instantaneous communication. It is the world in which we live today.