Power Converter, Communications Satellite, Satcom 1

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:

Communications satellites are composed of a complex array of electronic devices that facilitate the receiving or sending of signals (known as the payload) with ground stations on the Earth, or support the operation of the satellite.

This device, a power converter, performed the second function. Its role was to decrease voltages generated by the solar arrays and batteries for selected subsystems that required lower levels of power.

This artifact was a research and devlopment device for the module that flew on Satcom 1, a communications satellite built by RCA Astro Electronics, launched in 1975, and operated by RCA Americom. Satcom 1, a milestone in communications satellite history, was one of the first satellites used by US broadcast networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS) and cable TV channels (such as TBS and CNN) to distribute their programming over large geographic areas. Since the late 1970s, distribution via satellite has helped to make cable TV a staple of everyday life in the United States and other countries.

Lockheed Martin donated this artifact to the Museum in 1998.