10 Jul '12, 8pm

Happy Birthday, Telstar!: World's first telecom satellite launched 50 years ago today

Communications satellites are so much a part of our lives that we hardly think of them, but just 50 years ago, they didn’t exist—until Telstar 1. Launched on the morning of 10 July 1962 aboard a Thor-Delta rocket from Cape Canaveral, the 77-kilogram, solar-cell-covered sphere carried the first live transatlantic TV feed—a test signal sent between the ground stations at Andover, Maine, and Pleumeur-Bodou, France. On 23 July, TV viewers got their first glimpse of Telstar’s capabilities when networks in North America and Europe broadcast part of a major league baseball game, followed by remarks from President John F. Kennedy. Among Telstar 1’s other firsts: the first telephone call to be relayed through space, as well as the first fax.

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/aerospace/satellites/h...

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