CAPE CANAVERAL -- The United States successfully rocketed the world's first international communications satellite, Telstar, into orbit today in an effort to open a new era of global radio and "live" television.
The 170-pound moonlet began a wide-swinging journey around earth within 10 minutes after its launching at 4:35 a.m. EDT aboard a three-stage Delta rocket.
Circling earth every two hours and 20 minutes as a "switchboard in the sky," Telstar ... is considered one of the most significant advances in communications since the invention of the telephone 86 years ago.
July 11, from United Press International:
ANDOVER, Maine -- The dream of global television came closer to reality Tuesday night when an orbiting Telstar communications satellite unexpectedly beamed images from space into receivers in France and England.
The reception Tuesday night of pictures relayed by the Telstar to stations in Goonhilly, England, and Pleumeur-Boudou, France ... came as a surprise and a delight to scientists at "Space Hill" in Andover, Maine ...
Possibly millions of Americans listened to "The Star Spangled Banner" and saw the American flag -- framed against the 18-story communications dome at Andover -- on their television sets in the first TV transmission relayed from space.
The impluses, sent from Andover and amplified 10 billion times inside the instrument-packed ball circling the earth, appeared clear and vivid when they came back to earth.
Reception in France and England was an unexpected bonus. The French tracking station reported that the image was as clear as though it had been sent from 20 or 25 miles away. The sound also was clearly received.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story, which you are reading, was also transmitted 3,000 miles into space and back via the Telstar satellite.
The United Press International and Associated Press both sent dispatches aloft from Andover, Maine and bounced them off Telstar at the rate of more than 1,000 words per minute. This story was one of them.
As an indication of the speed of transmission, the above paragraph was sent on its journey more than 3,000 miles into space and 3,000 miles back in less time than it took you to read it.
* Entry from Britannica.com: @
* telstar50.org: @
* "1962: Satellite Transmission" (from AT&T): @
* Bell Labs Telstar 50th Anniversary Celebration (includes link to PDF of "Original 1962 Overview of the Telstar I Project"): @
* "Telstar Signals New Era" (St. Petersburg Times, July 11): @* "Telstar and the future" (New Scientist, July 19; scroll down for a second article, "Telstar sets some diplomatic problems"): @
* "Telstar Spins, Chatters" (Spokane Daily Chronicle, July 11): @
* "Telephone a Star" (National Geographic, May 1962, PDF): @
* "Maine and the Space Age" (from Maine Memory Network): @
* Telstar covers (from National Postal Museum): @
* A Day in History: Telstar Brings World Closer" (newsreel): @
* "TV from Space" (newsreel): @
* "Telstar!" (from Bell System): @
* "Kennedy on Telstar: Europe Sees News Conference" (newsreel): @