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This Week in Tech History: Last Flight of Atlantis

One of the most iconic toys in history is born, Transatlantic satellite communication is launched, and the end of an era for the space shuttle… It all happened This Week in Tech History.

This week in 1960 – A toy originally from France whose name translated to “The Magic Screen” first went on sale. It ended up becoming a huge hit with over 50 million units sold in the first 25 years. Years later, the device we came to know as the Etch a Sketch made it all the way to the National Toy Hall of Fame.

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.

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.

Written by Chris Graveline

Chris has covered consumer technology for over 20 years. He is the host of This Week in Tech History as well as a regular co-host on "Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline" and our Technical Director.

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