first active communications satellite
Telstar was launched from Cape
Canaveral on July 10, 1962. It relayed its first
live television pictures -- of a flag outside its
ground station in Andover, Maine -- on the date
of its launch, and relayed the first live
transatlantic television signal on July 23.
The satellite was built by Bell
Telephone Laboratories. It was roughly spherical,
was 34½ inches long, and weighed 170 pounds. It
was designed to receive microwave signals from a
ground station, amplify them, and rebroadcast
Although it was launched by
NASA, the satellite was owned by AT&T, and
operated as part of a multi-national agreement
between AT&T, Bell Telephone Laboratories,
NASA, the British Post Office, and the French
National Post & Telecom Office to develop
The first Telstar satellite
went out of service on February 21, 1963. The
Telstar program continued, however, and by 1964
two more Telstars had been successfully deployed.
A number of television broadcasting satellites
carry the Telstar name to this day.
Top Right: The first
television image broadcast from Telstar.
Bottom Right: A show
starring Yves Montand (shown as viewed in
England) was sent live from France to England and
the United States.
Questions or comments about