First Satellite TV Signal Sent 50 Years Ago
The Telstar 1 carried the first transatlantic TV signal. It also transmitted the first fax and the first telephone call routed through space.
The first photo on the Web isn't the only digital technology celebrating a decadal birthday this month. Telstar 1, the first satellite to carry a transatlantic TV signal, launched on July 10, 1962. Built and funded by AT&T's Bell Telephone Laboratories, Telstar 1 was also the first private space mission. On July 23, the satellite broadcast a major league baseball game, plus a speech by President John F. Kennedy, to North America and Europe. It later carried the first fax and the first telephone call through space.
Telstar 1 went offline in 1963, but it's still in orbit today, IEEE Spectrum reported.
The satellite is a 170-pound (77-kilogram) sphere covered in solar cells. It sent its very first test signal between Andover, Maine, and Pleumeur-Bodou, France. The National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Pleumeur-Bodou Telecommunications Museum in France will hold a joint satellite TV broadcast July 12 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first transmissions. The Washington museum will also show some original footage and talk with historians and experts during a free event.