July 10, 1962: The newly built Andover Earth Station successfully transmits a television image from Andover to the Pleumeur-Bodou Ground Station, on the Brittany coast in northwestern France, via the Telstar 1 satellite, which was launched that morning in Florida.

It is the first trans-Atlantic transmission of a TV signal via satellite. The first image transmitted shows the American flag waving on a pole outside the Andover station.

The signal follows telephone and domestic TV experiments conducted that day by American Telephone and Telegraph Co. and Bell Laboratories, which designed the satellite. The remote station in rural Oxford County is chock-a-block full with AT&T and Bell representatives, Federal Communications Commission members and other VIPs.

The Associated Press and United Press International immediately use the satellite to send news dispatches across the ocean, including stories about the satellite’s history-making debut.

Telstar, the property of AT&T, is the world’s first privately owned satellite. It inspires the name of nearby Telstar High School in Bethel, which still exists today.

The Andover Earth Station proves to be an economic boon to the area, drawing tourists and providing jobs for local residents. However, eventually overcome by advancing technology, it is dismantled in the 1990s.

Presented by:

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at islandportpress.com. To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at: [email protected]

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