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Communications Satellite, Oscar I


Display Status:

This object is on display in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar room at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Communications Satellite, Oscar I

Collection Item Summary:

Launched in December 1961, OSCAR 1 (Orbiting Satellites Carrying Amateur Radio) was the world's first non-governmental satellite. Built by a group of California based amateur radio operators for only 63 dollars, OSCAR I operated for nearly 20 days, testing radio reception from space. During that time, thousands of radio operators in 28 different countries detected the satellite's simple "hi-hi" morse code message.

OSCAR 1 marked the beginning of a program that continues to this day, under the auspices of the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (known officially as AMSAT) which operates approximately 20 OSCAR satellites as of the year 2000. The program has sparked innovations in spacecraft design and manufacture and enabled radio enthusiasts to participate in satellite communications.

The Museum's artifact is a scale model of the Oscar 1 spacecraft, donated by Project Oscar to the Museum in 1963.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum


Credit Line

Gift of Project Oscar, Inc.




Overall: 6 in. tall x 10 in. wide x 1 ft. 1 in. deep (15.2 x 25.4 x 33cm)

Country of Origin

United States of America


MODELS-Unmanned Spacecraft & Parts

Inventory Number


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