Encyclopedia Astronautica
Intelsat 1

Early Bird
Credit: NASA
American communications satellite. One launch, 1965.04.06. Intelsat 1, also called Early Bird, was the world's first commercial communications satellite. It provided the first scheduled transoceanic TV service and was operational for 3.5 years.

In 1984, the satellite was briefly reactivated to celebrate ITSO's 20th anniversary. Spacecraft: Spin stabilized. Payload: Two 6 W transponders with 50 Mhz bandwidth. No multiple access.240 voice circuits or one TV channel.

AKA: Early Bird.
Gross mass: 39 kg (85 lb).
Height: 0.59 m (1.93 ft).
First Launch: 1965.04.06.
Number: 1 .

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • Delta The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Development began in 1955 and it continued in service in the 21st Century despite numerous candidate replacements. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Delta American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Delta began as Thor, a crash December 1955 program to produce an intermediate range ballistic missile using existing components, which flew thirteen months after go-ahead. Fifteen months after that, a space launch version flew, using an existing upper stage. The addition of solid rocket boosters allowed the Thor core and Able/Delta upper stages to be stretched. Costs were kept down by using first and second-stage rocket engines surplus to the Apollo program in the 1970's. Continuous introduction of new 'existing' technology over the years resulted in an incredible evolution - the payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit increasing from 68 kg in 1962 to 3810 kg by 2002. Delta survived innumerable attempts to kill the program and replace it with 'more rationale' alternatives. By 2008 nearly 1,000 boosters had flown over a fifty-year career, and cancellation was again announced. More...
  • Delta D American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 3 x Castor + 1 x Thor DSV-2C + 1 x Delta D + 1 x Altair 2 More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Hughes American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Hughes Aircraft Co. , USA More...

Associated Programs
  • Intelsat Intelsat operated the world's first commercial communications satellite. It has provided the scheduled transoceanic television and voice and data communications service ever since. More...

  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Launch Log, October 1998. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC17A Delta launch complex. Part of a dual launch pad complex built for the Thor ballistic missile program in 1956. Pad 17A supported Thor, Delta, and Delta II launches into the 21st Century. More...

Intelsat 1 Chronology

1965 April 6 - . 23:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta D. LV Configuration: Thor Delta D 426/D30.
  • Intelsat 1 F-1 - . Payload: Early Bird. Mass: 39 kg (85 lb). Nation: International. Agency: INTELSAT. Program: Intelsat. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: Intelsat 1. Completed Operations Date: 1971-01-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 1317 . COSPAR: 1965-028A. Apogee: 35,819 km (22,256 mi). Perigee: 35,746 km (22,211 mi). Inclination: 11.7000 deg. Period: 1,435.90 min. Over Atlantic. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C). Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 28 deg W in 1965; 38 deg W in 1965-1966. As of 27 July 2001 located at 92.54 deg W drifting at 0.324 deg W per day. As of 2007 Jan 13 located at 47.74W drifting at 0.017E degrees per day.

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