The Launch of Early Bird

April 6, 1965
With Early Bird, “live via satellite” was born. Watch a behind the scenes look at the activities leading up to and including Early Bird’s launch.


Connecting Humanity From the Beginning

Through its four years of service, Intelsat 1 played a critical role in connecting humanity. It is credited with broadcasting the Apollo 11 moon landing to millions of TV viewers around the world, doubling the number of telephone lines between the continents, and providing other critical telecommunications and broadcasting services. Intelsat 1 was also the first satellite to provide direct and nearly instantaneous contact between Europe and North America.

Read more about Intelsat’s contributions to advancing the role that satellites play in broadcasting in this May 1979 Broadcast Engineering article, Communications satellites: A revolution in international broadcasting.

Early Bird Photo Gallery

This is Early Bird

Aired as a CBS News special on May 2, 1965, “This is Early Bird” was a live broadcast, billed as the first intercontinental news exchange between the US and Europe, and featuring live intercontinental footage.


Original video provided by CBS News. This video features materials protected by the Fair Use guidelines of Section 107 of the Copyright Act. All rights reserved to the copyright owners.

On Display at the National Air and Space Museum

Intelsat is donating a major piece of satellite history, Intelsat 1, to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. Early Bird will be cleaned, preserved, and restored at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center and then hung on display at the National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in 2025.