The original Telstar had a roughly spherical shape.
|Major contractors||Bell Telephone Laboratories|
|Launch date||July 10, 1962|
|Launch site||Cape Canaveral|
Telstar is the name of various communications satellites. The first two Telstar satellites were experimental and nearly identical. Telstar 1 was launched on top of a Thor-Delta rocket on July 10, 1962. It successfully relayed through space the first television pictures, telephone calls, fax images and provided the first live transatlantic television feed. Telstar 2 was launched May 7, 1963. Telstar 1 and 2, though no longer functional, are still in orbit as of July 2012.
Belonging to AT&T, the original Telstar was part of a multi-national agreement between AT&T (US), Bell Telephone Laboratories (US), NASA (US), GPO (UK) and the National PTT (France) to develop experimental satellite communications over the Atlantic Ocean. Bell Labs held a contract with NASA, reimbursing the agency three million pounds for each launch, independent of success. The US ground station was Andover Earth Station in Andover, Maine, built by Bell Labs. The main British ground station was at Goonhilly Downs in southwestern England. This was used by the BBC, the international coordinator. The standards 525/405 conversion equipment (filling a large room) was researched and developed by the BBC and located in the BBC Television Centre, London. The French ground station was at Pleumeur-Bodou ( ) in north-western France.
The satellite was built by a team at Bell Telephone Laboratories, including John Robinson Pierce, who created the project; Rudy Kompfner, who invented the traveling wave tube transponder used in the satellite; and James M. Early, who designed its transistors and solar panels. The satellite is roughly spherical, measures 34.5 inches (876.30 mm) in length, and weighs about 170 pounds (77 kg). Its dimensions were limited by what would fit on one of NASA's Delta rockets. Telstar was spin-stabilized, and its outer surface was covered with solar cells to generate electrical power. The power produced was 14 watts (0.019 hp).
The original Telstar had one innovative transponder to relay data, which was a television channel or multiplexed telephone circuits. An omnidirectional array of small antenna elements around the satellite's "equator" received 6 GHz microwave signals to be relayed. The transponder converted the frequency to 4 GHz, amplified the signals in a traveling-wave tube, and retransmitted them omnidirectionally via the adjacent array of larger box-shaped cavities. The prominent helical antenna was for telecommands from a ground station.
Launched by NASA aboard a Delta rocket from Cape Canaveral on July 10, 1962, Telstar 1 was the first privately sponsored space launch. A medium-altitude satellite, Telstar was placed in an elliptical orbit completed once every 2 hours and 37 minutes, inclined at an angle of approximately 45 degrees to the equator, with perigee about 952 kilometres (592 mi) from Earth and apogee about 5,933 kilometres (3,687 mi) from Earth This is in contrast to most of today's communications satellites, which are placed in circular geostationary orbits.
Due to its non-geosynchronous orbit, Telstar's availability for transatlantic signals was limited to the 20 minutes in each 2.5 hour orbit when the satellite passed over the Atlantic Ocean. Ground antennas had to track the satellite with a pointing error of less than 0.06 degrees as it moved across the sky at up to 1.5 degrees per second.
Since the transmitting and receiving radio systems on board Telstar were not powerful, the ground antennas had to be huge. Morimi Iwama and Jan Norton of Bell Laboratories were in charge of designing and building the electrical portions of the system that steered the antennas. The aperture of the antennas was 3,600 square feet (330 m2). The antennas were 177 feet (54 m) long and weighed 380 short tons (340,000 kg). The antennas were housed in radomes the size of a 14-story office building.
In service 
Telstar 1 relayed its first, and non-public, television pictures—a flag outside Andover Earth Station—to Pleumeur-Bodou on July 11, 1962. Almost two weeks later, on July 23, at 3:00 p.m. EDT, it relayed the first publicly available live transatlantic television signal. The broadcast was made possible in Europe by Eurovision and in North America by NBC, CBS, ABC, and the CBC. The first public broadcast featured CBS's Walter Cronkite and NBC's Chet Huntley in New York, and the BBC's Richard Dimbleby in Brussels. The first pictures were the Statue of Liberty in New York and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The first broadcast was to have been remarks by President John F. Kennedy, but the signal was acquired before the president was ready, so the lead-in time was filled with a short segment of a televised game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. The batter, Tony Taylor, was seen hitting a ball pitched by Cal Koonce to the right fielder George Altman. From there, the video switched first to Washington, DC; then to Cape Canaveral, Florida; to the Seattle World's Fair; then to Quebec and finally to Stratford, Ontario. The Washington segment included remarks by President Kennedy, talking about the price of the American dollar, which was causing concern in Europe.
During that evening, Telstar 1 also relayed the first telephone call to be transmitted through space, and it successfully transmitted faxes, data, and both live and taped television, including the first live transmission of television across an ocean from Andover, Maine, US to Goonhilly Downs, England and Pleumeur-Bodou, France.[clarification needed] (An experimental passive satellite, Echo 1, had been used to reflect and redirect communications signals two years earlier, in 1960.) In August 1962, Telstar 1 became the first satellite used to synchronize time between two continents, bringing the United Kingdom and the United States to within 1 microsecond of each other (previous efforts were only accurate to 2,000 microseconds).
Telstar 1, which had ushered in a new age of the commercial use of technology, became a victim of technology during the Cold War. The day before Telstar 1 was launched, the United States had tested a high-altitude nuclear bomb (called Starfish Prime) which energized the Earth's Van Allen Belt where Telstar 1 went into orbit. This vast increase in radiation, combined with subsequent high-altitude blasts, including a Soviet test in October, overwhelmed Telstar's fragile transistors; it went out of service in November 1962, after handling over 400 telephone, telegraph, facsimile and television transmissions. It was restarted by a workaround in early January 1963. The additional radiation associated with its return to full sunlight[clarification needed] once again caused a transistor failure, this time irreparably, and Telstar 1 went out of service on February 21, 1963.
Experiments continued, and by 1964, two Telstars, two Relay units (from RCA), and two Syncom units (from the Hughes Aircraft Company) had operated successfully in space. Syncom 2 was the first geosynchronous satellite and its successor, Syncom 3, broadcasted pictures from the 1964 Summer Olympics. The first commercial geosynchronous satellite was Intelsat I ("Early Bird") launched in 1965.
Newer Telstars 
Subsequent Telstar satellites were advanced commercial geosynchronous spacecraft that share only their name with Telstar 1 and 2.
The second wave of Telstar satellites launched with Telstar 301 in 1983, followed by Telstar 302 in 1984 (which was renamed Telstar 3C after it was carried into space by Shuttle mission STS-41-D), and by Telstar 303 in 1985.
The next wave, starting with Telstar 401, came in 1993; which was lost in 1997 due to a magnetic storm, and then Telstar 402 was launched but destroyed shortly after in 1994. It was replaced in 1995 by Telstar 402R, eventually renamed Telstar 4.
Telstar 10 was launched in China in 1997 by APT Satellite Company, Ltd.
In 2003, Telstars 4–8 and 13 — Loral Skynet's North American fleet — were sold to Intelsat. Telstar 4 suffered complete failure prior to the handover. The others were renamed the Intelsat Americas 5, 6, etc. At the time of the sale, Telstar 8 was still under construction by Space Systems/Loral, and it was finally launched on June 23, 2005, by Sea Launch.
Telstar 18 was launched in June 2004 by Sea Launch. The upper stage of the rocket underperformed, but the satellite used its significant stationkeeping fuel margin to achieve its operational geostationary orbit. It has enough on-board fuel remaining to allow it to exceed its specified 13-year design life.
Derivative uses of the name 
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (July 2012)|
- Joe Meek wrote and recorded an instrumental song in 1962, titled "Telstar"; it was performed by The Tornados and was the first single by a British band to reach number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The song was covered by The Ventures, Bobby Rydell, and more recently, Takako Minekawa.
- Dutch musician and producer Johnny Hoes founded his own record label in the early 1960s, which he named Telstar. It soon became one of the Netherlands' most successful independent record companies.
- Telstar Records is also the name of a British record label founded in 1982 by Sean O'Brien and Neil Palmer.
- Susanna Hoffs included "Wishing On Telstar" on her 1991 album When You're a Boy.
- The Scottish band Telstar Ponies was formed in 1994.
- The Adidas Telstar soccer ball was designed for use in the 1970 and 1974 FIFA World Cup tournaments, and its design has subsequently become the stereotypical look for a soccer ball. A Dutch soccer club was named SC Telstar after the satellites.
Product names 
- The Coleco Telstar was a 1970s video game console based on the General Instruments AY-3-8500 chip. There is an optional boss character called Telstar in the video game Final Fantasy VI.
- The Ford Telstar was the name of a Ford car produced from 1983 to 1999 and sold in Asia, Australasia and Southern Africa.
- Project: Telstar is an anthology of robot-and space-themed comics published in 2003 by AdHouse Books.
See also 
- "1962-ALPHA EPSILON 1". US Space Objects Registry. July 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
- Gavaghan, Helen (1998). Something New Under the Sun: Satellites and the Beginning of the Space Age. Springer. ISBN 0-387-94914-3.
- Sivan, Leo (1994). Microwave Tube Transmitters. Springer. ISBN 0-412-57950-2.
- Markoff, John (2004-01-19). "James Early, Engineer, 81; Helped Create A Transistor". Obituaries. The New York Times.
- An Introduction to Satellite Communications, page 3, D. I. Dalgleish, 1989
- "IEEE History Center: First Transatlantic Transmission of a Television Signal via Satellite, 1962". IEEE History Center. 2002. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
- Walter Cronkite. "Telstar". NPR. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
- Clary, Gregory (July 13, 2012). "50th anniversary of satellite Telstar celebrated". Light Years (blog). CNN. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
- "Philadelphia Phillies vs Chicago Cubs". Box Score. Baseball-Almanac.com. July 23, 1962. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
- Telstar, Kennedy, and World Gold & Currency Markets, YouTube
- Video: A Day in History. Telstar Brings World Closer, 1962/07/12 (1962). Universal Newsreel. 1962. http://www.archive.org/details/1962-07-12_A_Day_in_History. Retrieved February 20, 2012.
- "Significant Achievements in Space Communications and Navigation, 1958-1964". NASA-SP-93. NASA. 1966. pp. 30–32. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- Glover, Daniel R. (April 12, 2005). "TELSTAR". NASA Experimental Communications Satellites. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
- Early, James M. (1990). "Telstar I - Dawn of a New Age". Southwest Museum of Engineering, Communications and Computation. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- Mayo, J.S.; et.al. (July 1963). "The Command System Malfunction of the Telstar Satellite". Bell System Technical Journal 42: 1631–1657. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- Lorenz, Ralph D.; Harland, David Michael (2005). Space Systems Failures: Disasters and Rescues of Satellites, Rocket and Space Probes. Springer. ISBN 0-387-21519-0.
- "NASA - STS-41D". Nasa.gov. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
- "SAT ND". SAT ND. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
- Walter Cronkite on the first broadcast using Telstar from the July 23, 2002, episode of All Things Considered
- May 1962 National Geographic magazine article on Telstar from porticus.org
- Telstar, a Universal Newsreel via YouTube
- Stamps and envelopes related to Telstar I from the National Postal Museum
- Real-Time tracking of Telstar 1 from n2yo.com