First Commercial Communications Satellite Launched

Intelsat IApril 6, 1965

Intelsat I, the world’s first commercial communication satellite was launched into geosynchronous orbit above Earth. Built by the Hughes Aircraft Company, launched by NASA, and run by the Communications Satellite Corporation (COMSAT), Intelsat I was was nicknamed “Early Bird” and would go on to handle the first nearly instantaneous communications between Europe and North America. When activated in June of that year, Early Bird proved the feasibility of using synchronous satellites for commercial communications and handled telephone traffic, TV signals, telegraph, and faxes.