LEO satellites have a series of separation switches that close after it is released from the launch vehicle and they are used to start the flight computer. When the computer starts it checks the status of the switches and is programed to trigger on board timers that automatically actuate deployment mechanisms to release the solar arrays and antennas. These satellites have a 90 minute orbit period and therefore rely heavily on automated sequences to preform critical functions in a timely manor.

This provides a visual representation if this sequence on an OrbComm type satellite made by OSC. When released the arrays move from a stowed position into their on flight position. Then the communications antenna unfolds and locks into position to allow communications to be established with the satellite.

Once the deployments have been successfully completed the Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS) will use sensors and GPS information to keep the antenna pointed at the earth.