List of communications satellite firsts


Milestones in the history of communications satellites.

Satellite First Launched Nation
Sputnik 1 First satellite with radio transmitter[1] October 4, 1957  Soviet Union
Project SCORE First communications satellite[1]
First test of a space communications relay system
First (recorded) voice transmission (U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower)
December 18, 1958  United States
TIROS-1 First satellite to transmit television images from space (weather) April 1, 1960  United States
Echo 1 First passive reflector communications satellite August 12, 1960  United States
Courier 1B First active repeater communications satellite
First communications satellite powered by solar cells to recharge storage batteries
October 4, 1960  United States
OSCAR 1 First amateur radio satellite
First satellite ejected into orbit as a secondary launch payload
December 12, 1961  United States
Telstar 1 First active, direct-relay communications satellite
First satellite to relay television, telephone and high-speed data communications
First transatlantic television[1]
July 10, 1962  United States
Relay 1 First transpacific television (news of the assassination and funeral procession of U.S. President John F Kennedy)
First tandem satellite broadcast (with Syncom 3)
December 13, 1962  United States
Syncom 2 First communications satellite in geosynchronous orbit July 16, 1963  United States
Syncom 3 First communications satellite in geostationary orbit
First Olympic broadcast to international audiences
First tandem satellite broadcast (with Relay 1)
August 19, 1964  United States
OSCAR-III First amateur radio communications satellite (relay/transponder); first OSCAR powered by solar cells March 9, 1965  United States
Molniya First Soviet communications satellite (military); highly elliptical orbit April 23, 1965  Soviet Union
Intelsat I First commercial communications satellite in geosynchronous orbit[1] April 6, 1965  United States
Orbita First national TV network based on satellite television (Soviet Union) November 1967  Soviet Union
Nimbus 3 First satellite-based search and rescue system
First satellite to locate and command remote weather stations to transmit data back to satellite
April 14, 1969  United States
Anik 1 First domestic communications satellite system using geosynchronous orbit (Canada) November 9, 1972  Canada
Westar 1 First American domestic commercial geostationary communications satellite April 13, 1974  United States
ATS-6 First geostationary communications satellite to be three-axis stabilized
First experimental Direct Broadcast Satellite
First satellite to provide communications relay services for other spacecraft (Nimbus 6)
May 30, 1974  United States
Symphonie First geostationary communications satellite with unified propulsion system for station-keeping December 19, 1974  West Germany
AO-6 & AO-7 First satellite-to-satellite communications relay (ground -> AO-7 -> AO-6 -> ground)[2] January 1975 (occurred)  United States
Aryabhata First Indian satellite April 19, 1975  India
Palapa A1 First Indonesian communications satellite July 8, 1976  Indonesia
Ekran First serial Direct-To-Home TV communication satellite
First Soviet operational geosynchronous satellite
October 26, 1976  Soviet Union
Sakura First Japanese communications satellite[3] December 15, 1977  Japan
SBS-3 First commercial use of the U.S. Space Shuttle November 11, 1982  United States
Tracking and data relay satellite-A First satellite of first full-time communications relay network for other spacecraft April 4, 1983  United States
Arabsat-1A First communications satellite for the Arab League February 2, 1985  Arab League
Morelos I First communications satellite for Mexico[4] June 17, 1985  Mexico
Badr-1 First communications satellite of Pakistan July 16, 1990  Pakistan
ACTS Gigabit Satellite Network First communication satellite network to operate in the 20-30 GHz frequency band September 12, 1993  United States
Turksat 1B First communications satellite for Turkey August 10, 1994  Turkey
Iridium 1 First satellite for satellite telephone service May 5, 1997  United States
AO-40 First satellite to use GPS for navigation and attitude determination in HEO[5][6] November 16, 2000  Germany
 United States
Artemis First demonstration of inter-satellite laser communication[7] November 21, 2001 (experiment)  European Union
SuitSat First use of a decommissioned spacesuit as a radio satellite February 3, 2006 (deployed)  Russia
 United States
ARSAT-1 First Argentine communications satellite in geosynchronous orbit October 15, 2014 (Launch)  Argentina
BRIsat First satellite owned and operated by a bank October 18, 2016 (Launch)  Indonesia
SGDC-1 First Brazil communications satellite in geosynchronous orbit May 4, 2017 (Launch)  Brazil
Mazaalai First Mongolia communication satellite June 4, 2017 (Launch)  Mongolia
BulgariaSat-1 First Bulgaria communication satellite in geosynchronous orbit June 23, 2017 (Launch)  Bulgaria
Alcomsat-1 First Algeria communication satellite December 10, 2017 (Launch)  Algeria
Bangabandhu-1 First communications satellite of Bangladesh May 11, 2018 (Launch)  Bangladesh


  1. ^ a b c d "Appendix B". Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  2. ^ Klein, P.I.; Soifer, R. (October 1975). "Intersatellite communication using the AMSAT-OSCAR 6 and AMSAT-OSCAR 7 radio amateur satellites". Proceedings of the IEEE. IEEE. 63 (10): 1526–1527. Bibcode:1975IEEEP..63.1526K. doi:10.1109/PROC.1975.9988.
  3. ^ "Past Projects - Satellites and Spacecraft". JAXA. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  4. ^ "376 Satellite, Morelos, Mexico's First National Satellite System". Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Preliminary Results of the GPS Flight Experiment on the High Earth Orbit AMSAT OSCAR-40 Spacecraft" (PDF). 25th Annual AAS Guidance and Control Conference. February 2002. Retrieved 11 January 2011.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "GPS-Based Navigation and Orbit Determination for the AMSAT AO-40 Satellite" (PDF). American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 July 2011. Retrieved 11 January 2011.
  7. ^ "A world first: data transmission between European satellites using laser light".