In 1954, Soviet rocket engineer Sergei Korolev could not get funding to pursue a space program, so he planted a fake new-story claiming Russia was going to launch a satellite. The US responded that they were also going to launch one, so the Soviets then agreed to fund the program.
Some of the first US spy satellites took imagery on 70 millimeter film, which was recovered by dropping huge film canisters from space and catching them mid-air by a passing US Air Force plane.
The Soviet launch of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, was such a shocking event that at least one theater manager stopped the movie to announce it. The movie was _Earth vs. the Flying Saucers_, and in the audience was a young Stephen King.
NASA has 2 satellites chasing each other around the Earth tracking the distance between themselves to measure gravitational anomalies. Their nicknames are Tom & Jerry.
In a secret 1960 operation, the CIA stole the Russian satellite Lunik overnight completely disassembling, examining, and reassembling it within 12 hours, and returned it in the morning without the Russians knowing – possibly changing the outcome of the space race.
The first American spy satellites literally dropped their film from space in a “film bucket” that was then scooped up in midair by a plane.
“LES1”, a satellite that had been abandoned in 1967, recently started transmitting again, after its batteries decayed, shorting the solar panels straight to the electronics.
In 2008, hackers gained unauthorized access to a NASA spacecraft’s control system but chose to do nothing with it.
There is a satellite orbiting Earth that is to crash land in 8 million years, carrying a message addressed to the beings/humans and civilizations of the future.