Military and governmental satellites had existed for over half a decade when the Telstar satellite was launched into space on top of a Thor-Delta rocket on 10 July 1962.
But that didn’t stop it from becoming one of the most important satellites of all time. This was because the Telstar was the first commercially funded initiative to develop satellite communications over Europe — a technological advance that would lead on to today’s widespread satellite-reliant communications and entertainment.
Indeed, Telstar would go on to successfully transmit the world’s first transatlantic television pictures, telephone calls and fax images. Telstar 1 is still in orbit around Earth but is no longer functional.