National Air and Space Museum to present Telstar 50th Anniversary symposium

The National Air and Space Museum is to present ‘Telstar 50th Anniversary’ symposium on July 12. 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.

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.

Telstar 1 launched July 10, 1962, from Cape Canaveral, Fla., and was the first privately sponsored space-faring mission. It handled a variety of transmissions, including telephone, fax, data, still pictures and television signals from several locations across the United States and Europe. The original Telstar was part of an agreement between AT&T, Bell Telephone Laboratories, NASA, the British General Post Office and the French National Post Telegraph and Telecom Office. The satellite was built at Bell Telephone Laboratories. A small model of Telstar 1 will be on display during the symposium.

The National Air and Space Museum is on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Va., near Washington Dulles International Airport. Both facilities are open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

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