Star Naming Guide: Commercial Spaceflights

How Commercial Satellites are Paving the Way for Private Space Exploration

The idea for using satellites as a means of telecommunication is not a new concept. An article by David J. Whalen points out that in 1945, a then little-known Arthur C. Clarke penned an article for Wireless World magazine, where he made what is thought to be the first suggestion to broadcast TV via satellite. Although it wasn’t until many years later that Clarke’s original idea was realized, it was a visionary prediction that has proved even more versatile than the science fiction author himself could have imagined.

By 1962, just five years after Sputnik 1 became the first satellite in human history, AT&T became the first company to explore the use of satellite technology for commercial purposes with their Telstar satellite. Nearly half a century later, commercial launches of satellites for cell phones, radio, internet, and GPS navigation devices is commonplace.

Today, private spaceflight and exploration is poised at about the same place telecommunications satellite launches were 50 years ago—a function originally carried out and funded by the government, but soon overtaken and improved upon by the commercial sector. This encouraging comparison bodes well for those companies who are spearheading the private space exploration movement.

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