July 12th, 1962 the beginning of satellite TV, the end of islands

We'd probably all agree the Internet is the real revolution of the modern era, but today marks an older, parallel milestone that also brims with significance. On July 10th, 1962 -- back when JFK fretted over Russian missiles in Cuba and Bob Dylan sang In My Time of Dying -- NASA pelted the Telstar 1 satellite out into orbit, following a team effort by AT&T, Bell Labs and the British and French post offices. Two days later, the world's first transatlantic TV signal made its way from Maine to Brittany, via a quick stop-over in the heavens, and a new age of international communication was born. Kennedy forgot his troubles for a moment to tidy his hair and grin at France, who replied with a chirpy performance by Yves Montand. It didn't last long: Telstar 1 gave up its spherical ghost after just a few months and 400 transmissions, but by then, of course, the message had been delivered.

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July 12th, 1962: the day two continents smiled at each other