President Eisenhower Christmas Greeting First Space-To-Earth Message In History 60 Years Ago
By Space Coast History // December 18, 2018
U.S. SCOREs With Launch On Dec. 18, 1958
ABOVE VIDEO: Project SCORE (Signal Communications by Orbiting Relay Equipment) was launched on December 18, 1958 and provided a first test of a communications relay system in space, as well as the first successful use of the Atlas as a launch vehicle.
Launched From Cape Canaveral
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – In this age of instant global communication, it’s hard to fathom that only 60 years ago this month the world’s first communications satellite was launched aboard an American Atlas rocket from right here in our back yard at Cape Canaveral.
Project SCORE (Signal Communications by Orbiting Relay Equipment) was launched on December 18, 1958 and provided a first test of a communications relay system in space, as well as the first successful use of the Atlas as a launch vehicle.
It captured world attention by broadcasting a Christmas message via short wave frequency from U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower through an on-board tape recorder.
SCORE, as a geopolitical strategy, placed the United States at an even technological par with the Soviet Union as a highly functional response to the Sputnik satellites.
SCORE’s technical objectives were two-fold. In addition to showing that an Atlas missile could be put into orbit, the project demonstrated the feasibility of transmitting messages through the upper atmosphere from one ground station to one or more ground stations.
The result of the project, which used both real-time and store and forward techniques, was a major scientific breakthrough which proved that active communications satellites could provide a means of transmitting messages from one point to any other on Earth.
The first transmitted message from space to Earth was:
“This is the President of the United States speaking. Through the marvels of scientific advance, my voice is coming to you via a satellite circling in outer space. My message is a simple one: Through this unique means I convey to you and all mankind, America’s wish for peace on Earth and goodwill toward men everywhere.”
On the day of the launch, Eisenhower had a schedule at the White House that coincidentally involved hosting a delegation from Soviet-controlled Poland.
At a White House dinner that evening, he was informed of the success of the launch, at which point he interrupted the dinner and revealed the project’s existence to the audience. His announcement pointedly described that although SCORE was a peaceful mission, the U.S. now had the capability of delivering a nuclear weapon from space.
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