Telstar is the name of the first civilian communications satellites. The Telstar satellite series was a joint project of NASA and the U.S. telecommunications company AT & T.

Telstar 1

On 10 July 1962, the satellite Telstar 1 was fired from Cape Canaveral with a missile of the type Delta DM -19 into space. That same month, was given the first live telecast between the U.S. and Europe with a speech by U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Since Telstar 1 had no geostationary orbit, but on a highly elliptical orbit of 957 × circled 5600 km altitude, the connection could not be maintained longer than 20 minutes. Only after a half-hour orbit a shipment could be made. To ensure a continuous transmission, a constellation of numerous Telstar satellite was planned. This plan was not realized because of geostationary communication satellites have been considered more advantageous.

The $ 60 million Telstar 1 weighed 77.2 kg and had a diameter of 88 centimeters. His energy he received from 3600 small, externally mounted solar panels. At its equator was a two-row array of antenna elements, a further annular antenna mounted on one of the poles. So were out of TV broadcasts 600 one-sided or two-sided 60 telephone connections possible.

Since the satellite was damaged during launch by the particle cloud from the day before, held außeratmosphärischen atomic bomb test, code-named Starfish Prime, he fell after four months prematurely. Beginning January 1963 it was possible to take him back into operation until it finally failed on 21 February 1963. When completely funktionsuntüchtiges object he still is as so-called Zombie Space junk in orbit.

Telstar 2

The weighing 79.5 kg slightly heavier successor Telstar 2 was launched on May 7, 1963 after the original start date was postponed in October 1962 in order to to achieve a higher orbit ( 973 × 10,800 km ) required installation of additional Booster to be seen in the launch vehicle. This transfer times of up to 20 minutes were possible. Telstar 2 was used for two years.

The European receiving station for Telstar was built in Brittany, France near the village Pleumeur -Bodou ( coordinates 48 ° 47 ' 10.5 "N, 3 ° 31' 27.3 " W48.786255 - 3.524251 ). Under a radar dome 50 meters in diameter is the pivotally mounted, horn-like, 340 -ton antenna. The buildings can be seen today as a communications museum.

Later Telstar satellite

In the 1980s the name Telstar AT & T was revived for geostationary communication satellites, which in terms are not direct successors of the original Telstar satellite but on their development. The name was also retained by Telesat Canada, after the company had bought in 2007 with Loral Skynet satellite division of AT & T.

Start list

Reception in the youth culture of the 1960s

The enthusiasm over the first Telstar satellite was so great that Joe Meek wrote an eponymous instrumental piece that recorded the band The Tornados. The success of this piece was so striking that succeeded the tornado was the first British band to land a number one hit in the U.S..