July 10 is an unofficial holiday here at Telstar Logistics HQ, because this is the big anniversary of our fake-corporate namesake, the Mother of All Telstars, Telstar I, America's first active telecommunications satellite. Telstar 1 was launched by AT&T on July 10, 1962.
What was the mood like on that fateful day? Let's travel back via the YouTube Time Machine to hear what President John F. Kennedy had to say about the historic launch:
Sadly, Telstar 1 was soon lost in space -- within months the satellite had succumbed to the corrosive effects of radiation spewed into the atmoshphere by a nuclear test-blast. The Wikipedia explains:
The day before Telstar was launched, the United States tested a high-altitude nuclear device (called Starfish Prime) which super-energized the Earth's Van Allen Belt where Telstar took orbit. This vast increase in radiation, combined with further increases during subsequent high-altitude blasts, overwhelmed Telstar's fragile transistors; it went out of service in early December, but was ingeniously restarted in early January of 1963. The additional radiation associated with its return to full sunlight once again caused transistor failure, this time irreparably, and it went out of service on February 21, 1963.
Oops! Telstar 1 is still circling the Earth, although it now survives as a piece of zombie space junk. Today, however, a new generation of Telstar satellites brings the miracle of modern telecommunications to millions of (largely unappreciative) Earthlings. Telstar 18, for example, was launched in 2004, and after a bumpy start, it delivers satellite TV and Internet services to Southeast Asia.
All of us at Telstar Logistics urge you to keep the original "Tower in the Sky" in mind today as you telecommunicate, and as part of your private celebration, feel free to download and listen to "Telstar," the 1962 smash-hit that was directly inspired by the launch, produced by space-buff Joe Meek, and made famous by The Tornadoes. See you in orbit!
A Day in History: Telstar Brings World Closer (1962 Universal newsreel, via the Internet Archive. Excellent technical detail and explanation of how Telstar 1 worked. RECOMMENDED!)
Telstar I (Wikipedia page)
Sintetizador - Telstar (YouTube video. A cover version of Joe Meek's "Telstar" mixed with video cribbed from NASA films of the same era)
Chicchi Covers Telstar (YouTube video. A cover version of "Telstar" performed by a talented 9 year-old Japanese guitarist and friends. Fun!)
A Brief History of All Telstars
(Image above: First-day cover commemorating the launch of Telstar 1, postmarked July 10, 1962. From the Telstar Logistics "Telstars of the Ages" Corporate Archive.)