Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Telstar Telecommunications Satellite -- PICTURES
July 12, 2012 | 8:00 a.m.
In an era in which the Earth is encircled by an ever-growning number of telecommunications and other satellites, it might be difficult to understand the hoopla that ensued when the first one was launched.
That satellite, Telstar, relayed its first television signal 50 years ago on Thursday, two days after it was launched on July 10, 1962. Telstar was developed by Bell Telephone Laboratories for AT&T and launched by NASA, making it the first commercial space payload, according to a NASA press release.
The first broadcast included images of President Kennedy and French signer Yves Montand, as well as images of an American flag and Mount Rushmore, among others.
Below are images of the satellite along with a Universal Newsreel report and a (long) 1962 promotional video from AT&T.
The satellite lasted only a few months before radiation damaged its electronics, but it started a revolution in global communications.