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Relay 1 Communications Satellite

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Display Status:

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

Relay 1 Communications Satellite

Collection Item Summary:

Launched by NASA in 1962, Relay 1 was one of several satellites placed in orbit in the decade after Sputnik to test the possibilities of communications from space. Relay 1 received telephone and television signals from ground stations and then transmitted them to other locations on the Earth's surface. The satellite relayed signals between North America and Europe and between North and South America, and it also monitored the effects of radiation on its electronics. In conjunction with the Syncom 3 communications satellite, Relay 1 transmitted television coverage of the 1964 Olympics in Japan.

This prototype of Relay 1 is covered with solar cells. The antenna on top is for receiving and transmitting communications signals; those at its base are for telemetry, tracking, and control. In orbit, Relay used spin-stabilization to orient the antennas to communicate with Earth.

NASA transferred this artifact to the Museum in 1967.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Rights

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

Manufacturer

RCA Astro Electronics

Credit Line

Transferred from NASA

Materials

Aluminum, copper, plastic, glass

Dimensions

Overall: 4 ft. 4 in. tall x 2 ft. 6 in. wide (132.1 x 76.2cm)

See more items in

National Air and Space Museum Collection

Country of Origin

United States of America

Type

SPACECRAFT-Unmanned

Inventory Number

A19670216000