Thursday, May 9, 2013

50 Years Ago: Telstar 2

Telstar art. Telstar 2 looked almost identical to Telstar 1.

Fifty years ago on May 7, 1963, NASA launched another Telstar communications satellite into orbit. Built by AT & T at Bell Laboratories, the sphere-shaped satellite weighed 176 kg and was lifted up on a Delta rocket. The two Telstar satellites helped us make tremendous advances in broadcasting signals around the world and advancing our communications systems. I found an interesting read on the business end of Telstars at Gunter's Space Page:

Delta rocket at Cape Canaveral, Launch complex 17B.

Launch Complex 17B, much later, with a Delta II vehicle on the pad.

The Delta rocket used for the launch was the Thor-Delta, derived from the Thor-Able series. The Thor-Delta was also the first of the Delta series. The Delta series of rockets have done a tremendous service for our nation, and evolved into the modern Delta family of rockets. The Deltas were launched from Launch Complex 17B (currently inactive) at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station next to the Kennedy Space Center. You can get close to the site on the tour bus. Currently, Delta II launches are done from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The Delta IV rocket, a heavier lift vehicle, can launch from both Vandenberg and SLC37. I managed to get a picture of this launch tower while on the tour a couple of years ago.

I believe this one is LC37-B.

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