Liberalising Satellite Communications in India: Opportunities for Enhanced Economic Growth

The proven success of early satellites stimulated private sector interest in communications satellites. By 1960, AT&T had filed for authorization to launch an experimental satellite. In the absence of a policy to govern such requests, NASA awarded, competitive contracts to the Radio Corporation of America (for a medium orbit active communications satellite), AT&T (for its own medium orbit satellite), and Hughes Aircraft Company (for a high-orbit satellite). In July 1962, NASA launched AT&T’s Telstar, the world’s first transatlantic private sector communications satellite. Voice, television, facsimile, and data were transmitted between the U.S. and various sites in Europe. Telstar’s launch opened space to commercial users, sparking a communications revolution.