Telstar 1, image source: NASA
Reading Telstar 1 circumnavigated the Earth for just 226 days, but it changed the way we communicate forever, "commented Terry Hart, President of Loral Skynet, the fortieth anniversary of the launch of Telstar 1, the first communications satellite. Loral Skynet is today's Operator of the Telstar fleet. Shortly after its launch on July 10, 1962 Telstar 1 sent the first television pictures across the Atlantic. The transmission capacity was then sufficient for a TV channel or alternatively for 500 telephone calls. Today's communications satellites, however, bring it to a capacity of up to 500 TV channels.

Telstar 1 was the first active communication satellite. He amplified the signals he received from Earth and sent them on to the final destination. Previous attempts had been made with large balloons, but the signals only passively reflected. The satellite was developed by Bell Laboratories, funded by AT & T and NASA put it into orbit.

The power Telstar 1 brought to it was 15 watts. The spherical satellite weighed 77 kilograms and was 87 inches tall. By comparison, the active since 1999 Telstar 7 has a power of 10, 000 watts and weighs 3700 kilograms. With awnings he reaches a span of about 31 meters. Its expected life is 15 years.

"We should use the opportunities offered by the communications satellites to help people around the world understand each other, " John F. Kennedy commented on Telstar's first transatlantic live broadcasts

Axel Tilleman

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