History of Satellite Communications

Living reference work entry


The history of satellite communications is a rich one that began centuries ago with the efforts to interpret the meaning of the “wandering planets” among the stars and to understand the structure of the cosmos. Early scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton and writers of speculative fiction both contemplated the idea that humans might one day launch artificial satellites into orbit for practical purposes. This chapter provides a brief overview of that rich international history up through the early days of global satellite operations. This history continues to provide a narrative concerning the different types of satellites that have evolved to offer various kinds of services and the development of competitive satellite networks that are at the core of the communications satellite industry today. A brief history of military satellite systems and the “dual use” of commercial satellite systems to support defense-related communications needs is also addressed.


Arabsat CEPT (Council European Post and Telecommunications) Clarke, Arthur C. Cold War Communications satellite corporation (Comsat) Courier satellite Department of defense (DOD) Divestiture of AT&T Domestic satellite leases Early bird satellite Eutelsat FR-3 satellite Galileo Global information grid (GIG) Global maritime distress safety system (GMDSS) Goddard, Robert Hale, Edward Everett Initial defense satellite communications systems (IDSCS) Inmarsat Intelsat International maritime organization (IMO) International telecommunication union (ITU) Kefauver, Estes Kennedy, John Fitzgerald Kerr, Robert S. MARECS satellite Marisat Ministry of post and telecommunications Molniya Moon landing Newton, Isaac Pickering, William Relay satellite SCORE satellite Shockley, William Submarine cable systems Syncom satellite Telstar Tsiolkovsky, Konstantin TV-Sat United Nations (UN) van Allen, James von Braun, Werner Wells, H.G. Wideband global satellite (WGS) 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Former DeanInternational Space UniversityArlingtonUSA

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