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“Via Satellite” Anniversary: Five Decades Ago, First Transmission


Credit: AT&T

It was 50 years ago this month when the first privately sponsored space-faring mission reached Earth orbit.

Telstar 1 was lofted on July 10, 1962 from Cape Canaveral, enabling the world’s first transmissions of live television.

Some two weeks after the satellite’s launch, Telstar’s first test transmission was on July 23. It was a multinational, historic event, a broadcast that was carried by American networks CBS, NBC and ABC as well as CBC in Canada and Eurovision in Europe.

The first pictures were of the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower.

Telstar handled a variety of transmissions, including telephone, fax, data, still pictures and television signals from several locations across the United States and Europe.

What’s more, check out below Telstar, the tune!

Taken for granted today

The original Telstar was part of an agreement between AT&T, Bell Telephone Laboratories, NASA, the British General Post Office and the French National Post Telegraph and Telecom Office.

“Live broadcast of events happening throughout the world are taken for granted today, but 50 years ago transmissions enabled by Telstar captured the attention and imaginations of people everywhere,” said Secretary of the Smithsonian, Wayne Clough.

“The 50th anniversary reminds us how far we have come, and how much potential there is the new era of digital communications,” Clough noted in a Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum press release.

To celebrate this milestone making event, a program is to be held at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum on July 12th, in Washington, D.C.

For more information on the “Telstar 50th Anniversary” symposium, go to:

For your ears, check out The Tornados and their hit: Telstar! [after ad]

Go to:

Also, go to the AT&T site for more Telstar information and a video at:

By Leonard David


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