Telstar, The Story and History

Uploaded by FrenchOSTinUSA on 10.09.2012

This is Frank Blair. I am speaking to you from outer space.
I am in a studio in New York City
but the picture on this monitor is being transmitted from 3,000 miles out in space
by means of a communications satellite.
Fantastic as it seems,
this historic achievement in the use of outer space for peaceful purposes
was made possible by a tiny sphere,
a model of which you see here.
The United States communications satellite Telstar.
Miraculous indeed, you say.
Television signals travel in a straight line.
To send these signals over land,
you build a series of towers in sight of each other.
But crossing the ocean is another matter.
You would have to build a tower of such immense height
that it could be seen in a straight line from both shores.
So instead of a tower hundreds of miles high,
the communications satellite is placed at height
to receive from one side and send to the other
in direct lines of sight.
From a ground station nestled in the mountains at Andover, Maine
a signal is sent to a speeding satellite.
An historic feat that could reshape man's future.
That satellite of course is the Telstar.
A hundred and seventy pounds of complex electronic equipment
that receives signals beamed from Earth,
magnifies them ten billion times
and re-broadcasts them back to Earth.
Pictures, telephone calls, telegraph messages and computer data
all can be handled by the orbitting device.
Telstar receives its power from batteries
that are recharged by the sapphire-coated solar cells
which in turn are activated by rays from the sun
as it hurtles through space at a low point of 600 miles
to a high of 3500 miles.
Bell Telephone Laboratories scientists
had been knee-deep in research and development
on a lot of the ingredients that were to go into the bird
such as solar batteries, transistors, and traveling wave tubes.
When they were needed they were there to be used.
They packed 10,000 electronic components
in a 34-and-a-half inch ball.
Now, an Earth Station was needed.
They went into a remote valley
cut in a ring of protecting hills
near Andover, Maine.
To protect the big horn that would go beneath it
they erected a 20-ton radome.
Two hundred and ten feet across.
Sixteen stories high.
The largest inflated shelter ever built.
The control building went up to house the men and the consoles of Andover.
On a brilliant June day
Telstar arrived at Cape Canaveral.
It passed into the hands of its launchers.
So Telstar moved to the gantry.
Weight: 170 pounds.
Eight years from concept of flying tower
to trial in space.
It was a million dollar baby
and every move it made was watched by anxious guardians.
At Canaveral, for the first time,
the government, represented by NASA,
would launch a private satellite.
Launch a satellite bought and paid for by private industry.
That industry was the Bell Telephone System.
Launch vehicle: the Douglas Delta rocket,
a nine-time winner.
Everybody wanted to win this one.
As the countdown plunged forward,
suspense and confidence ran neck and neck.
Launch time: 3:35 AM, July the 10th.
- Report payload status.
- Ready.
- Launch Director we have received clear to launch.
- Minus fifty.
- Start remote camera number one.
- Started.
- Close blockhouse vents.
- Closed.
- T-20 seconds.
- Mark, start the camera and mag-tape recorders.
- Camera and mag-tape on.
- Minus ten.
- Nine.
- Eight.
- Seven.
- Five.
- Four.
- Three.
- Two.
- One.
- Zero.
Telstar was launched
03:35:00 on the button.
The real test is still to come.
Finding the tiny star
3,000 miles up in space,
racing around the Earth at more than 16,000 miles an hour.
Tracking Telstar began in the woods near Andover, Maine.
Remote from radio interference.
Across the Atlantic,
at Goonhilly Downs in England,
the British joined the search for Telstar.
So did the French,
who built on the coast of Brittany near Pleumeur-Bodou,
a tracking station that's just like the one at Andover, Maine.
In the control building, the men of Andover took a deep breath,
settled down at their consoles.
It was just about time for the curtain to go up.
- This is the Director.
Let's start the system status check.
- System check, formation one.
Starting at 22:45:37 UT.
- Command tracker report.
- Command ops ready.
- Precision track ready.
- TEG ready.
- Data ops ready.
- Receiver ready.
- Transmitters ready.
Across the Atlantic in a quiet corner of Brittany, France
another great horn antenna waited.
Would Telstar bridge the big pond?
The newsmen of press and television were there.
One thing's sure.
Fail or succeed the experiment was out in the open.
Starting with the 6th orbit
and through the night,
the Telstar is in range above the US and the European stations.
And pictures are received clearly in France
with somewhat lesser success in Britain
on this first test.
Tne signals are beamed from this 18-story dome
that houses the super-sensitive horn
weighing nearly 400 tons
An antenna so delicately tuned
that it picks up a mere whisper of a signal from the satellite
and amplifies it again billions of times
for a re-broadcast over cables or the air.
Now comes the historic moment.
A moment compared in significance
with the first message sent over the telegraph.
This is the first picture transmitted to outer space
and received back again on Earth.
Scenes of the dome at Andover
are flashed across the sea
and man marks another milestone
in this age of scientific miracles.
So proudly it waves. �