Splashdown, Live Via Satellite

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Splashdown, Live Via Satellite


Because satellite communications and space travel grew up around the exact same time, television coverage of the initial astronaut missions was crude at best. It was’t until Apollo 7—long following the Gemini and Mercury programs had finished—that audiences globally viewed the initial live color TV broadcast from a boat at sea, the USS Essex. Also it occurred thanks to the efforts of Roy Andres, a leader in satellite broadcast medium.

Andres had worked on Relay and Telstar, the primary active communication satellites in orbit, and had began his career at RCA in 1946. Although strategies were in spot to relay video from the moon and eventually Earth orbit, and giant dish antennas had broadcast in black and white a few Gemini splashdowns, nobody had offered live colour coverage of recovery and an ocean splashdown. Andres’ solution was the considerably smaller (and considerably less difficult to put on a boat) TRANSATEL, or Transportable Satellite Telecommunications Terminal.

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