Model, Communications Satellite, Intelsat I

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

Launched in April 1965, the International Telecommunication Satellite Organization's Intelsat I (also known as "Early Bird") was the first satellite to provide commercial communications services.

Operating in geosynchronous orbit and spin-stabilized, it used a design developed for the earlier Syncom series of satellites, but was augmented with improved electronics and solar collectors. In its first months of operation, the spacecraft primarily performed experimental tests. Beginning in June 1965, though, Intelsat put the satellite into operational use, facilitating voice and video communication between the United States and Europe, It remained in service until August 1969 when it was succeeded by more advanced satellites in the Intelsat series.

The Museum's artifact is a 1/24 scale model of the Intelsat I satellite and was donated by Hughes Aircraft Co. to the Museum in 1975.