On July 23, 1962 Telestar, the world’s first active communications satellite was launched by NASA. Telestar was a a spherical satellite only the size of a large beach ball that beamed live transatlantic video into viewers’ living rooms for the first time.
This project was a cooperation between AT&T and NASA . AT&T designed and constructed this experimental satellite and then they paid NASA to launch it.
The satellite received data,telephone calls, fax images and still pictures from large antenna that were mounted on bearing on ground stations in France, Maine and Andover before amplifying them and transmitting them across the Atlantic Ocean.
Telstar could only broadcast signals when it was visible to ground stations on both sides of the Atlantic, meaning there was only a 20-minute transmission window during each two-and-a-half-hour orbit.
It facilitated over 400 telephone, telegraph, facsimile and television transmissions and it went out of service on Feb. 21, 1963, when its on-board electronics failed due to the effects of radiation.
This is a video demonstrating how Telestar was working and a summary of the its story:
I beleive that Telestar was one of the most important inventions of the world. It helped us to make our life easier in terms of communicating with the whole world. Before this invention people from Europe and North America had to wait days or hours for tapes to be shipped across the Atlantic in order to watch footage from the other side of the ocean. In my opinion, Telestar satellite was the beginning of a new era, people nowadays are available to watch online streaming from all the countries around the world and they are able to get informed about what is happening at the other side of the world in seconds.