The second episode of my series on communications satellites, we look at a satellite that for a generation was more famous than Sputnik. While Sputnik kicked off the space race and worried the US, Telstar brought nations around the world closer together.

Telstar 1 was a privately built satellite, Bell Labs wanted it and covered the costs, it was highly experimental and relied on amazing complicated ground equipement to track the satellite, transmit the signals and receive them at the other end. While Telstar operated for less than a year it would only be the first of many communications satellites.

Want to find out more? NASA has huge amounts of amazingly detailed documentation on these early satellites.
Telstar 1 – Volume 1
Telstar 1 – Volume 2
Telstar 1 – Volume 3

Also – Relay 1 – RCA’s answer to Telstar 1

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