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France, U.S. Celebrate First Transatlantic TV Broadcast

France, U.S. Celebrate First Transatlantic TV Broadcast

Published on July 10, 2012

Read the Ambassador’s speech

50 years ago, on July 10, 1962, Telstar was launched by NASA. Two days later, it relayed the world’s first transatlantic television signal, from Andover Earth Station, Maine in the United States, to the Pleumeur-Bodou Telecom Center in Brittany, France.

To celebrate this milestone in the history of telecommunications and television, the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC hosted the “Telstar 50th Anniversary,” with a satellite television connection to the Pleumeur-Bodou Telecommunications Museum in France commemorating the first transmission.

Telstar: very first image received in France.

Secretary of the Smithsonian Wayne Clough started up the satellite connection between the two museums. Mrs. Christine Albanel, Orange Executive Director and former French Minister for Culture and Communication, French Ambassador François Delattre and US Consul Robert Tate spoke, alternately from France and from Washington, DC.

Amb. François Delattre

“Fifty years ago, indeed, Telstar was a technological breakthrough that produced a true revolution in the information and communication world, allowing any human being on earth to potentially communicate with any other wherever they may be,” said Ambassador Delattre. “In this respect, ladies and gentlemen, Telstar truly made science fiction a reality. Its technology helps save lives all over the world, avoid conflicts and promote better understanding between people. So diplomacy and telecommunications go hand-in-hand together, and Telstar deserves the title of honorary ambassador.”

Mrs. Christine Albanel, Orange Executive Director and former French Minister for Culture and Communication, speaks from Pleumeur-Bodou, France.

Following the satellite connection, historians and experts from industry and government discussed Telstar’s historical significance; its impact on commercial space endeavors; and the birth of global communications. Footage from the original 1962 broadcast between France and the United States on July 12 were shown at the symposium. Concluding remarks were delivered by State Department Assistant Secretary Kerri-Ann Jones.

A technician working on Telstar at Bell Telephone Laboratories in Hillside, New Jersey.
Yves Montand singing ’La chansonnette’ broadcast in the U.S through Telstar

For those who couldn’t attend, a live webcast of the event is available at this address: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/23940708

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