- Written by Josh
July 11 is an important date in the calendar of space based communication.
Launched in 1962, it marks the day the first live transatlantic television signal was sent. These signals were sent by the Telstar communications satellite. This represents the origin of things like Sky television that many people use today. This represented a major advance in communications technology and had been sponsored by companies including AT&T, NASA and the British General Post Office.
Although a big step forward the service was a lot different to what we see today. Due to its orbit it was only possibly to use Telstar for about 20 minutes every two and half hours. Not only was live signal limited but the original satellite was quite low power and huge receivers had to be built. TheUKdish can still be seen down inCornwallat the Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station. The dish that received the Telstar signal is affectionately known as Arthur and was the sites first receiver. It is now a grade 2 listed building having had involvements in the Apollo missions and various Olympic Games. Although usage of the station has been moved, Arthur and the other dishes present at Goonhilly still remain standing at the tip of Britain.
The first Telstar satellite was fairly short lived, being decommissioned in December 1963. Despite this it still left a huge mark. Being the first satellite to route phone calls through space and all it did for live television broadcasts its legacy is still felt today.