This photograph shows the first pass of Echo 1, America’s first communications satellite, over the Goldstone Tracking Station managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, California, in the early morning of Aug. 12, 1960. The movement of the antenna, star trails (shorter streaks), and Echo 1 (the long streak in the middle) are visible in this image.
JPL’s role in Project Echo involved sending and receiving signals through two of its 85-foot-diameter antennas at the West Coast Goldstone tracking station in the Mojave Desert. The antennas at Goldstone later became part of the JPL-managed NASA Deep Space Network — the “phone company” for nearly every spacecraft that has gone to the moon or beyond. Recently rediscovered audio recordings from the JPL archives highlight the lab’s involvement in America’s first satellites for communication.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense