A big week for space, as the first transatlantic communication satellite is launched, the Pathfinder lands on Mars and the end of an era for the space shuttle… It all happened This Week in Tech History.
This week in 1962 – The “Telstar” communications satellite was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, FL. “Telstar” would usher in a new age of communication via telephone and TV, with voice and picture transmission from Europe to America and back. Signals were picked up by a 38-ton antenna in Andover, Maine.
1997 – The Mars Pathfinder spacecraft, launched by NASA from the Earth in December 1996, entered the atmosphere of Mars. A heat shield, parachutes, and airbags helped it land safely. The Sojourner rover searched the surface of Mars for rocks while millions of earthlings watch it on TV and the Internet.
And this week in 2011 – Space Shuttle Atlantis was launched in the final mission of the U.S. Space Shuttle program. Atlantis is currently displayed at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex with its payload bay doors opened, and mounted at an angle to give the appearance of being in orbit around the Earth. The angle at which the shuttle is mounted – at 43.21 degrees, pays tribute to the countdown that preceded every shuttle launch. A multi-story digital projection of Earth rotates behind the orbiter in a 64,000-square-foot indoor facility.