In 1965, the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (Intelsat) launched the Early Bird satellite (also known as Intelsat 1). This event marked the beginning of day-to-day, operational communications via space and established Intelsat, a consortium of tens of nations, as the primary vehicle for providing this new capability. Over the next two decades, Intelsat and its satellites helped change the way communications flowed around world--from telephone calls, to television, and data.
A total of six Intelsat VI satellites entered into service over the period 1989-1991. By this time the Intelsat satellites had become a crucial means for transmitting live news and television programming around the globe. In a 1990 launch, an Intelsat VI satellite only managed to achieve low Earth orbit, rather that its intended geostationary orbit of 35,800 kilometers (about 22,300 miles). In 1992, a Space Shuttle mission captured and then repaired the satellite, allowing it to reach its proper operating altitude.
This artifact is a 1/12 scale model, donated by Intelsat to the Museum in 1989.
Gift of INTELSAT