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Telstar - 50 years old and still up there

TelstarIn 1962 I was fortunate to be working with Mullard Reserach Laboratories in Surrey on the masers for the Goonhilly receing station for the Telstar trans-Atlantic TV satellite.  It is a bit dispiriting to realise that it was 50 years ago but pleasing to learn that as of today it appears the satellite is still up there.

 

Telstar is more or less spherical and about 34.5 inches in diameter.  It weighs under 180 pounds. These were limts set by the Delta rocket that carried it into space 13 days before the first broadcast on 23rd July 1962.

 

Around the satellite an array of small antenna elements received the 6 GHz microwave signals upload. A transponder converted them to 4 GHz, amplified the signals in a traveling-wave tube, and retransmitted them using the larger cavities that are below the receiving cavities around the waist.

 

A helical antenna was used to receive for commands from the ground station.


The concept of Direct Broadcasting by Satellite was being promoted but with great disbelief that it could ever be affordable.  Also, it was thought that the reception would be via antennae in the roof space rather than on the outside of the building.  If it had been possible how would we have found our way around?  Or am I the only one who uses Sky dishes rather than a compass to navigate?
 

Comments

Comments

2 people have had something to say so far

I love that comment: "Or am I the only one who uses Sky dishes rather than a compass to navigate?
" I always use Sky dishes work out which way is south.
Posted on 26/07/12 10:09.
I used to use the telephone poles because the cross bars were always on the London side of the pole. Or at least that was the myth I believed. Maybe that accounts for some the spectactular wrong turings I took from time to time...
Posted on 26/07/12 11:00 in reply to Andrew Hughes.

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