Launched on July 10, 1962, Telstar 1 was the world's first active communications satellite. Developed by Bell Telephone Laboratories for the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T), Telstar received a signal from the Earth, processed it onboard, and then resent to another location below (an "active" satellite). AT&T used the satellite to test basic features of communications via space, including the feasibility of transmitting telephone and television signals and the effect of Van Allen belt radiation on spacecraft components.
During its operational life, Telstar 1 facilitated over 400 telephone, telegraph, facimile and television transmissions. Soon after launch, Telstar enabled the first transatlantic television transmission, linking the United States and France. In November 1962, the satellite's electronics failed, damaged by Van Allen Belt radiation. Telstar 2, which incorporated radiation resistant electronics, launched in May 1963, continuing AT&T's research effort.
This artifact is a one third scale model of the Telstar satellite, donated to the Museum by David Kosakoff in 1982.
Gift of David Kosakoff