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List of communications satellite firsts


List of communications satellite firsts

Milestones in the history of communications satellites.

Satellite First Launched Nation
Sputnik 1 First satellite with radio transmitter[1] October 4, 1957
Project SCORE First communications satellite[1]
First test of a space communications relay system
First (recorded) voice transmission (US President Dwight Eisenhower)
December 18, 1958
TIROS-1 First satellite to transmit television images from space (weather) April 1, 1960
Echo 1 First passive reflector communications satellite August 12, 1960
Courier 1B First active repeater communications satellite
First communications satellite powered by solar cells to recharge storage batteries
October 4, 1960
OSCAR 1 First amateur radio satellite
First satellite ejected into orbit as a secondary launch payload
December 12, 1961
Telstar 1 First active, direct-relay communications satellite
First satellite to relay television, telephone and high-speed data communications
First transatlantic television[1]
July 10, 1962
Relay 1 First transpacific television (news of the assassination and funeral procession of US President John F Kennedy)
First tandem satellite broadcast (with Syncom 3)
December 13, 1962
Syncom 2 First communications satellite in geosynchronous orbit July 16, 1963
Syncom 3 First communications satellite in geostationary orbit
First Olympic broadcast to international audiences
First tandem satellite broadcast (with Relay 1)
August 19, 1964
OSCAR-III First amateur radio communications satellite (relay/transponder); first OSCAR powered by solar cells March 9, 1965
Molniya First Soviet communications satellite (military); highly elliptical orbit April 23, 1965
Intelsat I First commercial communications satellite in geosynchronous orbit[1] April 6, 1965
Orbita First national TV network based on satellite television (Soviet Union) November 1967
Nimbus 3 First satellite-based search and rescue system
First satellite to locate and command remote weather stations to transmit data back to satellite
April 14, 1969
Anik 1 First domestic communications satellite system using geosynchronous orbit (Canada) November 9, 1972
Westar 1 First American domestic commercial geostationary communications satellite April 13, 1974
ATS-6 First geostationary communications satellite to be three-axis stabilized
First experimental Direct Broadcast Satellite
First satellite to provide communications relay services for other spacecraft (Nimbus 6)
May 30, 1974
Symphonie First geostationary communications satellite with unified propulsion system for station-keeping December 19, 1974
AO-6 & AO-7 First satellite-to-satellite communications relay (ground -> AO-7 -> AO-6 -> ground)[2] January 1975 (occurred)
Aryabhata First Indian satellite April 19, 1975
Palapa A1 First Indonesian communications satellite July 8, 1976
Ekran First serial Direct-To-Home TV communication satellite
First Soviet operational geosynchronous satellite
October 26, 1976
SBS-3 First commercial use of the US Space Shuttle November 11, 1982
Tracking and data relay satellite-A First satellite of first full-time communications relay network for other spacecraft April 4, 1983
Arabsat-1A First communications satellite for the Arab League February 2, 1985
Badr-1 First communications satellite of Pakistan[3] July 16, 1990
Turksat 1B First communications satellite for Turkey August 10, 1994
Iridium 1 First satellite for satellite telephone service May 5, 1997
AO-40 First satellite to use GPS for navigation and attitude determination in HEO[4][5] November 16, 2000
SuitSat First use of a decommissioned spacesuit as a radio satellite February 3, 2006 (deployed)
ARSAT-1 First Argentine communications satellite in geosynchronous orbit October 15, 2014 (Launch)


  1. ^ a b c d
  2. ^ "Intersatellite communication using the AMSAT-OSCAR 6 and AMSAT-OSCAR 7 radio amateur satellites". IEEE. October 1975. Retrieved 16 December 2009. 
  3. ^ Badr-1
  4. ^ "Preliminary Results of the GPS Flight Experiment on the High Earth Orbit AMSAT OSCAR-40 Spacecraft" (PDF). 25th Annual AAS Guidance and Control Conference. February 2002. Retrieved 11 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "GPS-Based Navigation and Orbit Determination for the AMSAT AO-40 Satellite" (PDF). American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. 2002. Retrieved 11 January 2011. 

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