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Telstar was also the subject of a pop culture hit by the Tornadoes after the launch of Telstar 1. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:36, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

From the article: "Telstar would receive microwave signals from a ground station equipped with a helical antenna, amplify them, and rebroadcast them. During Project Echo, Telstar was able to successfully send and receive communications using light wave as a transmission medium, between Echo I and Telstar." I highly HIGHLY doubt this. Visible light (lasers) is only now beginning to be used in experimental satellite communications.--Deglr6328 21:26, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Telstar was the first to prove this was possible, that data could be transmitted in such a way. By no means was this any sort of primary communications device. Rhymeless 02:35, 24 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I don't want to be overly skeptical but do you have a source that explains this? I couldn't find any.--Deglr6328 06:02, 24 Jul 2004 (UTC)
"Just as the electron tube and the transistor are needed for using the radio spectrum, so are devices required for using the optical spectrum. One such device developed recently, is the optical maser (also called laser). [..] Optical masers may make it possible to use light waves as a transmission medium, but it is obvius that similar devices are needed for reception. An ultra-sensitive solid-state maser has already been used with a passive communications sattelite, Echo I and with an active communications sattelite, Telstar. Ground-station masers are important as amplifiers. The energy from the Telstar experimental sattelite, for example, was on the order of one billionth of a watt. In project Echo the return signal was about 1/0 of a millionth of a millionth of a watt. " --Excerpt from Telstar special feature, Compton Yearbook, 1963. Rhymeless 19:18, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)
OK then it used a MASER not a laser. Big difference. Masers transmit microwave radiation not visible light. I will change the article to reflect that.--Deglr6328 03:51, 26 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I thought that an optical maser was different from a standard maser, that it was the old name for laser?? Rhymeless 04:51, 26 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Yes optical MASER is the now antiquated term for a laser. The author in the quote you provided is merely speculating that it could be used in the future for communication but he did not seem to understand they don't work well as signal amplifiers, for instance in receivers, like masers do. Trust me :o) it was a maser that was used. --Deglr6328 21:03, 26 Jul 2004 (UTC)
The satellites Telstar 1 and Telstar 2 were microwave communication satellites that had absolutely nothing to do with optical communications, lasers, etc. Neither did the two Echo satellites have anything to do with optical communications. Furthermore, the Telstars didn't have any Masers on them, either. The big, bulky masers, requiring cryogenic cooling were strictly ground equipment in the satellite earth stations in the USA and Europe. It is vital to be able to distinguish between ground equipment and satellite stuff! The Telstars used transistorized electronics on-board. Also, as for ground equipment, great advances in electonics have long-ago eliminated the requirement for masers even in the ground stations. (talk) 06:45, 8 September 2008 (UTC)


I just created Telstar (disambiguation). Probably some of the material at the end of this article, not immediately related to the satellite, should be moved to that article. --Tony Sidaway|Talk 23:41, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Re: Please refer to

Telstar Communication Break-Through By Satellite, by Louis Solomon, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. New York. A gross simplification follows: The Telstar was a mid-ocean "tower in the sky" link needed to complete the microwave route between continents. To clarify the above discussion re: maser/laser, i will again refer you this publication. "From lip to lip the horn's mouth gapes sixty-eight feet, wide enough to scoop up the billionth-of-a-watt signal from Telstar. It funnels down to a square inch inside the cab, to the heart of the incredibly sensitive receiving equipment - the ruby maser. Maser is a shorthand was of saying Microwave Amplification by Simulated Emission of Radiation, which is a way of saying that the maser is a low-noise amplifier."

I would also refer anyone interested in primary source material re: Andover Ground Antennia: unclassified reports archived at NASA: Documentment ID 19640000976 Asscention Number 64N10885. Blackbriar2748 23:35, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

More Information on TelStar aka IntelSat Americas[edit]

You may see/view a list of channels and the entire of line-up of IntelSat or TelStar at TelStar has various positions in the sky and that site will give detail information on all public/private sat/birds in the sky on how to point your DISH to receive Free To Air Channels (FTA).

Telstar's trans-Atlantic broadcasts[edit]

There's a more detailed description of Telstar's first broadcasts at British TV History. Perhaps someone could add some of that in? -- 13:13, 17 March 2007 (UTC)


Why is there no mention that it was destroyed by American nuclear testing in space?

Maybe we didn't know that. What's your source? Dicklyon 17:54, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
OK, I found and added some info and refs on that. Dicklyon 21:07, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
There is also a BIG difference between a satellite being "destroyed" in outer space by something, and its merely having some parts of its electonics damages or put out of communications. To use a German word, satellites go "kaput" from time to time, but w/o being "destroyed".

link broken, but may come back[edit]

the link to the national geographic article on telstar (nat_geo_telstar_ocr.pdf) is broken..

going to the homepage ( brings up a hosting default page.. so i assume this means they're coming back and it's some kind of server issue (this page was featured on boingboing, so it might just be pulled for bandwidth, although the message doesn't specify)

if this is still broken in a few days, i suggest pulling the link.

i googled for alternate links to use, but can find no other matches for that pdf on google, either by description or filename.

i'm not a regular wikipedia person, so hopefully the discussion page is the right place to note this, as i can't actually fix the item because it might fix itself and cant find an alternate link to use in the meantime. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)


It would be nice if whoever wrote all this good stuff would tell us what books they got it from. Dicklyon 21:08, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Not everything comes from a book. One can go to advanced courses in electrical engineering school and listen to the Professor, and learn that way. Or actually work on a satellite communications project. I've personally done those things, and also taught college courses in "RF & Satellite Communications" in programs in "Telecommunications Engineering Technology". Reading books and being able to quote them is nice, but there are lots of other way to learn things than just by reading books. On top of that, there are technical journals that electrical engineers read and write. (talk) 06:57, 8 September 2008 (UTC)


The article says:

Unlike most of today's communications satellites, Telstar was on an elliptical orbit, which meant the ground antenna had to track the satellite as it came around the world approximately every 2.5 hours.

I don't see what this is getting at. Even if the orbit had been exactly circular (assuming not geostationary) would it not have been equally necessary for a ground antenna to track the satellite? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:51, 28 February 2009 (UTC)


Telstar 1 relayed its first television pictures (of a flag outside Andover Earth Station) to Pleumeur-Bodou, France, on the date of its launch. Almost two weeks later, on July 23, it relayed the first live transatlantic television signal. says the first live transatlantic television signal was relayed on 11 July 1962.

... During that evening [by implication the evening of July 23], Telstar 1 also relayed the first telephone call to be transmitted through space, ...

At it says the first telephone call was on 10 July.

... and it successfully transmitted faxes, data, and both live and taped television, including the first live transmission of television across an ocean (to Pleumeur-Bodou).

This is written as if it's the first mention of the first live transatlantic TV signal, but that was already mentioned earlier. Is this talking about the same thing, or something different?

Sorry for not trying to fix these; I'd rather someone with expert knowledge checked this whole paragraph and fixed as necessary. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:03, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

Telstar didn't relay the first live transatlantic TV transmission ANYWAY! it was the first live transatlantic *satellite* transmission. John Logie Baird conducted the first live terrestrial TV transmission in the 1920s (talk) 19:03, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Translation into Chinese Wikipedia[edit]

The 22:09, 11 April 2009 E-Kartoffel version of this article is translated into Chinese Wikipedia.--Wing (talk) 15:58, 27 April 2009 (UTC)


Telstar 1 relayed the first television pictures, telephone calls and fax images through space and provided the first live transatlantic television feed.

I doubt that fax images were transmitted - certainly not in the modern sense since the fax machine didn't become practicable until the mid-70s. Perhaps it was one of the predecessor systems - but even there, it seems unlikely that it would have been used for such purpose, given the rarity of such systems. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:43, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Telstar certainly did carry fax transmissions, along with other types of test data such as RTTY. Somewhere in my archive of documents I have a copy of a G.P.O. report which summarizes the results of the various data tests, including facsimile, both from Telstar and from Relay. Fax machines have been around since long before the 1970's. They might have been bigger, a lot more expensive, and consequently not in such widespread use as from the 1970's onward, but they were there. (talk) 17:30, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Do any recordings exist of "Telstar" broadcasts[edit]

A lot of television broadcasting from the 1960's is no longer extant due to a variety of reasons (see: wiping), so I would like to know if anyone knows about the survivial status of telecasts that used "Telstar 1". Retro Agnostic (talk) 04:50, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

There is definitely some footage that shows the very first fleeting and fuzzy image of a picture appearing on a TV screen, with a British voiceover: "there he is... that's a man's head!", or something similar. It's been shown on BBC (I think) documentaries. (talk) 19:57, 15 November 2009 (UTC).

People who originally worked on Telstar.[edit]

I am searching for some information about my grandfather who worked on Telstar in the very beginning of it. Is there anyone at all who can help me with this. I would appreciate it .

                                                         Thank you
                                                             Deborah  — Preceding unsigned comment added by Deborah48 (talkcontribs) 14:41, 4 January 2011 (UTC) 

Deborah, My father worked on Telstar at the Bell Labs. What was your Grandfather's name? SABrandes (talk) 20:51, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

Orbital Decay?[edit]

How long will it be before Telstar 1 will burn up in the atmosphere? It's been spinning around up there since I was three and it hasn't gotten dizzy yet! :) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:10, 24 May 2016 (UTC)

According to the Info Box, Telstar-1's initial perigee was almost 600 miles, which is above almost all of Earth's atmosphere, and apogee was almost 3,700 miles. Most of each revolution is spent well outside any significant source of fluid drag, so I expect that it will be aloft for centuries, unless it's proactively deorbited by some sort of intervention. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:46, 27 May 2017 (UTC)