How the U.S. Accidentally Nuked Its Own Communications Satellite
Fifty years ago AT&T launched Telstar 1, the first commercial communications satellite—right into the middle of a radiation storm produced by a nuclear test
July 11, 2012 | 4|
(From Scientific American)
In 1962 a small spherical satellite weighing about 77 kilograms was launched from Cape Canaveral. Its name was Telstar 1, and it was the first commercial telecommunications satellite—the first of a long line that have led to today's digitally connected world, where television programs and other media are easily accessible at locations across the globe.
By the following February, however, Telstar 1 had been completely fried by energetic electrons from a U.S. high-altitude nuclear test.
A model of the Telstar 1 satellite was included in a display case exhibit sponsored by AT&T, in the 1960s and 1970s at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, this Telstar 1 satellite model was displayed in the Observing Room of the original Astronomical Observatory of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (then known as Buhl Science Center). The primary instrument of this Observatory was the fairly rare, 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, then the second largest Siderostat-type telescope in existence.
MORE ON TELSTAR 1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telstar_1
MORE ON THE SIDEROSTAT-TYPE TELESCOPE: http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/
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