Launched on July 26 1963, Syncom 2 was the second of three communication satellites developed by Hughes Aircraft Company in the early 1960s to demonstrate the feasibility of space based communications technology from geosynchronous orbit. Syncom 2 flew in an inclined rather than an equatorial geosynchronous orbit. The latter became the standard orbit for most subsequent communications satellites, including Syncom 3.
NASA used Syncom 2 to conduct a number of engineering tests and public demonstrations of the possibilities of satellite communications. In August 1963, President John F. Kennedy used the spacecraft to make a telephone call to Nigerian Prime Minister Abubakar Balewa. It was the first two-way call between heads of state via satellite.
The Museum's artifact originally was given to Dr. Hugh Dryden, Deputy Administrator of NASA. Mrs. Dryden donated the scale model (which includes an AM radio) to NASM in 1974.
Gift of Mrs. Hugh Dryden