|The Miami News, July 10, 1962. (Click to enlarge)|
From NJ.com:July 10, 1962...
CAPE CANAVERAL (AP) - A "switchboard" satellite rocketed into orbit today as a possible first step toward a space relay system for swift, world-wide transmission of radio, telephone and television signals.
Telstar: A half century of information from space
By A. Michael Noll
A half-century ago, the world became much smaller. Until then, it was hard to get telephone and television signals from other continents. But then came the launch of Telstar on July 10, 1962 — and everything began to change.
Telstar was the first active relay communication satellite. It received a signal up from Earth and then retransmitted that signal back down, spanning the Atlantic Ocean and bringing continents closer together. The frequency bands used for the uplink and downlink are still the ones mostly used today — Telstar got it right from the beginning. The first test television transmission on July 10, 1962, was a taped video of an American flag. The signal was received in France, but missed in England because the British had the polarization wrong. Later, the first telephone calls across the Atlantic by satellite would be relayed over Telstar. A few weeks afterward, on July 23, Europeans saw Walter Cronkite live, a few minutes of a Chicago Cubs game and even a little of a news conference with President John F. Kennedy.