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"In the summer of 1962, Telstar-1 helped ignite the white heat of technology that burned throughout the rest of the decade. Fifty years on, how well deserved is its reputation as a global comms game changer?
"A media star in its own right, the first Telstar had something special. Half a century ago, on 10 July 1962, that 88cm-diameter sphere relayed the first instantaneous television and telephone signals across the Atlantic – and promptly became an icon. Millions of Britons viewed its shaky first pictures. "The invisible focus of a million eyes" became the Queen's description in her next Christmas Day address.
"For the public, the Telstar experiment showed that Space could be useful, single-handedly kick-starting the multi- billion pound satellite telecommunications industry – up to a point, at least, for the historical truth is somewhat more nuanced, for arguably Telstar-1 was both a great leap forward – and a technological cul-de-sac."