50 years ago today, on July 12, 1962, the first live television signal was viewed in the United States, Canada, and across Europe. The signal was beamed around the world using the Telstar 1 satellite, which was the world’s first active communication satellite. Telstar 1 was launched from Cape Canaveral Florida on July 10, 1961.
Two days after its launch in 1961, it made history when it transmitted the first global television signal from Andover Earth Station in Maine to the Pleumeur-Bodou Telecom Center in Brittany, France. A year later, the satellite broadcasted the first live programming. Famous news correspondent Walter Cronkite called the live broadcast the “rarest of all television moments.”
If you’re wondering what that first live broadcast showed viewers, it opened with scenes of the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower. Originally, the broadcast was expected to show remarks made by President John F. Kennedy, but Kennedy’s talk was delayed so they showed a live baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs. The live broadcast also mixed in shots of the American flag and images of a French singer named Yves Montand.