A brief history of space communication
The idea of radio transmission through space was first conceived in 1911. In 1945 Britishauthor-scientist Arthur C Clarke suggested the use of a geosynchronous earth satellite forthe purpose. His assumption of a manned space station was later revised by a US engineer,J R Pierce, in April 1955, who was also the first one to analyze unmanned communicationsatellites. This idea later led to the great success of satellite communications.The first artificial satellite "SPUTNIK I" was launched by the erstwhile USSR, in 1957.This began a series of space initiatives by USA and USSR.The first satellite communication experiment was the US government's project SCORE(Signal Communication by Orbiting Relay Equipment), which launched a satellite onDecember 18, 1958. This satellite circled the earth in an elliptical orbit and retransmittedmessages recorded on a magnetic tape. It lasted for about 13 days after which the batteriesran out!!The US Army Signal Corp's Courier IB, launched in October 1960, lasted for about 17days. It could handle typewriter data and voice and facsimile messages.It was a balloon, Echo 1, launched in August 1960, which led American Telephone &Telegraph Company (AT&T) to build Telstar. Communication tests carried out byreflecting radio signals from Echo 1's surface were completely successful.Telstar, launched on July 1962 was the first active satellite with a microwave receiver andtransmitter to transmit live television and telephone conversations across the Atlantic. Itwas turned off in February 1963. Successive initiatives include NASA's Relay 1 satellitewas launched in elliptical orbit in December 1962 and Syncom 2, the first synchronouscommunication satellite was launched in July 1963.In 1964 a global initiative was undertaken leading to the formation of INTELSAT, whichhas been one of the major driving forces for the large scale commercial exploitation of satellite technology for communications. Since then there has been no looking back.