Fifty years ago, NASA launched its first communications satellite, Echo 1. Made from mylar polyester film and measuring about 100 feet across, the balloon-shaped spacecraft was designed as a passive communications reflector for transcontinental and intercontinental telephone, radio, and television signals. During orbit, a special recorded message from President Dwight Eisenhower was bounced off Echo 1 and picked up by radio operators across the USA.
Adapted from information issued by NASA.
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