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see communications satellitecommunications satellite
artificial satellite that functions as part of a global radio-communications network. Echo 1, the first communications satellite, launched in 1960, was an instrumented inflatable sphere that passively reflected radio signals back to earth.
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Telstar 1 was launched from Cape Canaveral aboard a Boeing Thor Delta rocket and soon thereafter broadcast the first live television signal from Andover, ME, to Goonlilly Downs, England and Pleumeur-Bodou, France.
During its seven months in orbit, Telstar 1 dazzled the world with live images of baseball games, plays, musical performances, news broadcasts, scenes of the World's Fair in Seattle, WA, and a US Presidential news conference.
Telstar 1's technology differed from previous "passive" satellites -- large reflective balloons that reflected radio signals -- in that it received a signal from the ground, amplified it and sent it back to earth.