A Retrospective Look at the Dawn of Satellite Communications

The anniversary of the launch was last week, but we'd be remiss if we didn't take a moment to commemorate the passing of 50 years since the U.S. sent aloft its first communications satellite. After all, this one shiny balloon opened the way to the vast array of much more advanced satellites that help enable so much of modern life.

The August 12, 1960, launch of the Echo 1A was the first successful one for NASA in its communications satellite program, almost three years after the launch of Russia's Sputnik and two and a half years after the U.S. put its very first satellite, the Explorer 1, into orbit. Not long thereafter, according to the space agency, Echo allowed President Eisenhower to make the first voice communication via satellite. You can read more at CNET

  • Jonathan E. Skillings On Twitter»

    Jonathan Skillings is managing editor of CNET News, based in the Boston bureau. He's been with CNET since 2000, after a decade in tech journalism at the IDG News Service, PC Week, and an AS/400 magazine. He's also been a soldier and a schoolteacher, and will always be a die-hard fan of jazz, the brassier the better. E-mail Jon.

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