Wednesday, August 4

Telstar 1: 77 kilos that changed satellite communication | Digital Trends Spanish

More than 3,000 satellites orbit the Earth, whether for scientific, commercial or military purposes. It is becoming more and more common for private companies to ship their own devices without resorting to government agencies. Elon Musk knows this well with his Starlink network. However, the turning point occurred more than half a century ago with Telstar 1, the world’s first private satellite.

Launched by NASA on July 10, 1962, Telstar 1 was the hub of the first privately sponsored space mission. The project involved Bell Telephone Laboratories as developer, AT&T and NASA as operators, as well as GPO (later British Telecom) from the UK, and PPT from France.

Its successful launch marked a turning point for the development of commercial satellite communication, since until then it was a land reserved for military purposes. The device not only demonstrated the viability of satellite transmissions, but also gained experience to track them and how they were affected by the Van Allen radiation belts.

The impact of your first broadcasts

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With a spherical shape similar to a soccer ball, the Telstar 1 is 86 centimeters long and weighs 77 kilos. In fact, this design led the German manufacturer Adidas to baptize as Telstar Durlast the ball that was used in the 1968 Eurocup and the World Cups in Mexico 1970 and Germany 1974.

Telstar 1 transmitted the first transatlantic television signal from the Andover ground station, USA, to the Pleumeur-Bodou Telecommunications Center in France, two days after its launch. However, it was a private broadcast that showed the image of the American flag flying in Andover.

The great milestone occurred on July 23 at 3:00 pm, when it broadcast the first live transatlantic television signal, which was broadcast in Europe through Eurovision and in the United States and Canada through the networks NBC, CBS, ABC and CBC.

The first images corresponded to the Statue of Liberty, in New York, and the Eiffel Tower, in Paris. Although the original idea was for the transmission to be inaugurated by President John F. Kennedy, Telstar 1 had a 2.5-hour orbit that only allowed availability in the first 20 minutes. Since Kennedy was not ready, the engineers improvised and broadcast the images of a baseball game.

But when it appeared on screen, Kennedy dismissed fears of an eventual devaluation of the dollar, which caused its immediate strengthening in global markets. These first images captured the imagination of the world. A new era in communication was born.

During its useful life, Telstar 1 facilitated more than 400 telephone, telegraph, facsimile and television transmissions. Six months after its launch, the satellite stopped working and a reboot only kept it running until February 1963. However, Telstar 1 is still navigating space.

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