A Harbinger of the Interconnected World

“The mountains have been leveled and the oceans dried up by 85 pounds of scientific jewelry with a six watt signal,” said Frank Stanton on CBS News, 6 April 1965. On that day, Intelsat launched the world’s first commercial satellite, known as “Early Bird.”

However, if Early Bird was a “beacon illuminating the way – and what a brilliant light it was,” then, 50 years later, our Intelsat EpicNG® satellites are harbingers of an interconnected world the likes of which was unimaginable in 1965.

Early Bird could carry 240 voice circuits…or one television channel. That may not sound very impressive when compared to Intelsat’s next generation fleet, where one satellite can carry up to 7,000 television channels. However, it was nothing short of revolutionary in 1965 when Early Bird was used to transmit events such as the Clay-Liston fight, the start and finish of the LeMans Grand Prix automobile race and the Irish Derby. Perhaps most important of all, Early Bird was one of three Intelsat satellites that provided live coverage of mankind’s first landing on the moon, 20 July 1969. It was the world’s first global television transmission.

That marked the first of many iconic moments that Intelsat has transmitted to the world. Along the way, Intelsat became synonymous with innovation in space-based communications, as we deployed our ubiquitous satellite network which connects our world.

Today, Intelsat’s global network—and other space-based communications—continue to be an invisible but essential part of everyday life. Intelsat’s next generation satellites, known as Intelsat EpicNG, are designed to make broadband connectivity anywhere possible, opening up an entirely new set of applications. From dramatically expanded passenger broadband entertainment and in-flight Wi-Fi, to high definition video from deep sea oil platforms, to completing wireless networks across the vast continents of Africa, Latin America and Asia, Intelsat is there.

As we honor this anniversary, we are energized in our role in what is coming next…the generation of space-based communications that will be an essential element of the networks that enable the era of the Internet of Things and Machine2Machine.

As our predecessors did with Early Bird, we plan to continue to dream the impossible, make it real and help change the world one connection at a time.

For more about Early Bird, visit our YouTube channel.

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