All about the early bird, Intelsat-1 satellite

 

Intelsat 1 was the very first commercial satellite in global scale in our communications system. It was on this very month, April 6th to be precise, way back in 1965.

The Intelsat-1 was nicknamed as Early Bird since it was a pioneer in its field of invention. Placed in the geosynchronous orbit, it religiously followed the daily rotations of planet earth, but on an inclination slightly different to the latter.

Early Bird had facilitated constant chain of satellite communication between continents, that is, Europe and North America. Everything from faxes, television broadcasts to phone calls were transmitted by this dainty little satellite that weighed only 34.5kg with dimensions of 76 x 61 cm.

It was basically built for NASA by Hughes Aircraft Company. The original plan was to make use of the Early Bird only for eighteen months, but it stayed in service for four long years. Believe it or not, thi s deactivated baby still is present in the orbit above earth even today. It was brought back briefly to bring in its 25th anniversary in the year 1990.

Along with other satellites in the later years, those of the likes of Intelsat 2, Intelsat 3 and NASA ATS-1, Early Bird was also used to transmit the landmark television show ‘Our World’. This show was aired in 1967 and was the first live broadcast show that was transmitted everywhere around the world with the help of the above listed satellites. Four hundred million viewers from 25 different countries had tuned in to watch the broadcasted show. This had been the largest number of audience attention for any television show during that time frame.

Nineteen countries had participated with representatives of artists and performers in this show back then. The likes of Pablo Picasso were a part of this historic event. The show was a two and a half hours event that was sealed with The Beatles performance of ‘All You Need Is Love’.

This song was first presented to the public in this very event since it was especially written for this event by none other than John Lennon.

Intelsat-I was even used in the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 when their supporting Atlantic satellite had failed to function.

Post Intelsat-1 numerous launches were seen in the 1960s and 1970s. Intelsat-3 when launched supported fifteen hundred voice circuits of four different TV channels. Intelsat-4 had enabled four thousand voice circuits in its time. Such innovations of those times gave more power to world communication and help bring the world together through networking and connection. Ever since, the trend follows.