Cianbro Co-founder Ken Cianchette will be a guest at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum today to celebrate the first telecommunications satellite, Telstar, which was launched and operational 50 years ago this month. Cianbro was a subcontractor on the project to build an "Earth Station," an antenna facility which was constructed to monitor the satellite from the remote terrain of Andover, Maine. Two other Earth Stations monitored the satellite from Britain and France.
Here is the announcement of the 50th Anniversary event from the Smithsonian:
"Telstar, the satellite that made the world’s first transmissions of live television possible in 1962, will be the subject of a program at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum July 12. The 'Telstar 50th Anniversary' symposium, which will begin at 1:30 p.m., will be presented in cooperation with the Embassy of France. It will begin with a satellite television connection to the Pleumeur-Bodou Telecommunications Museum in France commemorating the first global transmission of a television signal 50 years ago.
'It was that rarest of all television moments, the kind that compels viewers to lean forward and stare in a primal wonder and amazement at their screens,' was how newscaster Walter Cronkite described a Telstar-enabled public broadcast that occurred about two weeks after the satellite’s launch and first test transmission July 10. A multinational event, the July 23 broadcast was carried by American networks CBS, NBC and ABC as well as CBC in Canada and Eurovision in Europe. The first pictures were of the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower. Although the program was to have begun with remarks by President John F. Kennedy, the talk was delayed and a baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs was televised in its place.
The symposium will be presented in two parts. Secretary of the Smithsonian Wayne Clough will begin the satellite connection between the two museums. French Ambassador François Delattre and the U.S. General Consul in France, Robert Tate, will also speak."
Click here to hear Ken Cianchette's memories of the project.