A Tutorial on VSATs – Topic-1

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The History of  VSAT

A brief history of space communication 

The idea of radio transmission through space was first conceived in 1911. In 1945 British author-scientist Arthur C Clarke suggest the use of a geosynchronous earth satellite for the purpose. His assumption of a manned space station was later revised by a US engineer,J R Pierce, in April 1955, who was also the first one to analyse unmanned communication satellites. This idea later led to the great success of satellite communications. The first artificial satellite “SPUTNIK I” was launched by the erstwhite USSR, in 1957. This began a series of space initiatives by USA and USSR.

The first satellite communication experiment was the US government’s project SCORE (Signal Communication by Orbiting Relay Equipment), which launched a satellite on December 18, 1958. This satellite circled the earth in elliptical orbit and re-transmitted message recorded on a magnetic tape. It lasted for about 13 days after which the batteries ran out!! The US Army Signal Corp’s Courier IB, launched in October 1960, lasted for about 17 days. It could handle led American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T) to build Telstar. Communication tests carried out by reflecting radio signals from Echo 1’s surface were completely successful.

Tel star, launched on July 1962 was the first active satellite with a microwave receiver and transmitter to transmit live television and telephone conversations across the Atlantic. It was turned off in February 1963. Successive initiatives include NASA’s Relay 1 satellite was launched in elliptical orbit in December 1962 and Syncom 2, the first synchronous communication satellite was launched in July 1963. In 1964 a global initiative was undertaken leading to the formation of INTELSAT, which has been one of the major driving forces for the large scale commercial exploitation of satellite technology for communications. Since then there has been no looking back.

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