Live video reports from events
happening around the world are routine on evening newscasts. That wasn't the
case 50 years ago. On July 10, 1962, the Telstar communications satellite was
launched from Cape Canaveral. This was the first spacecraft to actively relay
first broadcast from Andover, Maine in the United States to the Goonhilly in
Great Britain took place one day later. BBC News has reports about 300 former staff celebrated the anniversary
commemorating the 85-foot antenna, nicknamed
“Arthur,” used to receive the satellite's signal.
A backup duplicate of Telstar is in storage at the Smithsonian
Air and Space Museum, and Smithsonianmag.com covers the 50th
anniversary in the blog Fifty Years Ago Today, the First Communications
Satellite was Launched into Space
. The Air and Space Museum hosted a
day of special events Thursday, July 12, including a live satellite connection
with the Telecommunications Museum in Pleumeur-Bodou, France, the site of the
original French ground station antenna that received that first broadcast from
Telstar was an experimental satellite, and
radiation ultimately disabled it in 1963, less than a year after activation.
The satellite is still in orbit, circling the Earth every 2.5 hours.
For a more detailed review of the history of Telstar, pictures
and its impact on broadcasting, see Remembering
by James E. O'Neal on TVTechnology.com.