TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: What Exactly Did "Telstar" Do?

Re: What Exactly Did "Telstar" Do?

Howard Eisenhauer (
Wed, 15 Dec 2004 03:32:53 GMT

Back when I was in school we toured an early commercial ground
station, 90' something dish inside a dome. I should have known better
but as we walked through the airlock I looked up & saw a bunch of
steel roof rafters, then a moments vertigo as I noticed they were
curved, then- Holy S___! THAT THINGS BIG!!

It was designed before geosync was a reality, so it originaly had the
capability to track the Telstar birds as they came over the horizon.
I'm not sure why but once it was pointed at one of the Intelsats(?)
the operator clamped some locks on the track and/or ring gear to keep
it locked in place. Too bad, I would have loved to see it moveing :(.


On 13 Dec 2004 11:12:28 -0800, wrote:

> In the 1960s, the Bell System launche d a pioneer communications
> satellite known as Telstar. The event had great fanfare. People
> would be told when and where to look for the tiny dot of light passing
> in the night sky, and go out to see it. Models of it appeared in
> museums.

> While there are generalities written about it, I was curious about
> some day to day technical details.

> I am curious as to what exactly did Telstar do, once they got it up
> and running. That is, did it handle domestic voice long distance
> calls? Overseas calls? Telegraph/ data signals? Television
> programs, either domestic or overseas? Did it have an orbit fixed
> above one point of the earth or its own moving orbit?

> How was Telstar controlled? That is, I presume any call handled via
> Telstar could also be handled by more conventional means, and backup
> was necessary in case Telstar wasn't working for some reason. Did
> engineers manually route transmissions and babysit them?

> Was Telstar a production unit, expected to be a workaday medium, or
> just an experiment to see how satellite communications would work?

> (During overseas calls of the 1930s, engineers did have to monitor
> every call in progress and adjust frequencies and even bands
> (shortwave or longwave) to compensate for atmospheric conditions
> affecting the radio. There were advantages and disadvantages for both
> shortwave and longwave and both were used. I don't think these were
> ever resolved until undersea cables came into use.)

> How long did Telstar stay in service? I recall a Telstar II replacing
> it, but then the mystiq of satellites waned. Thanks.

> [public replies please]

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: Steve Sobol: "Re: Software Should Not Be Copyrighted -- Lawsuit"
Go to Previous message: AES/newspost: "Re: What Exactly Did "Telstar" Do?"
May be in reply to: "What Exactly Did "Telstar" Do?"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page