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Echo Adapter

Echo 1 was the world's first communication satellite. Essentially just a big, mylar balloon inflated in orbit, radio waves bounced off of the surface of the satellite to the next ground station. There's a famous picture of an inflated Echo satellite. Oddly enough, this particular photo identifies the satellite's diameter as both 135 feet (in the caption, which is representative of Echo 2) and 100 feet (in the description, which is representative of Echo 1); the date on the photo itself is several weeks before the Echo 1 launch.

A recorded message from President Eisenhower was bounced off Echo 1 and broadcast across the country. It began, "This is President Eisenhower speaking. It is a great personal satisfaction to participate in this first experiment in communications." The History Channel has an audio recording of the full message.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory has a "Quicklook" at the Echo 1, 1A, and 2 satellites, and Chapter 6 of Spaceflight Revolution: NASA Langley Research Center From Sputnik to Apollo has a much more in-depth account of the Echo program. Langley also has a shorter Project Echo page.

The sign for this Echo launch vehicle adapter identifies it as a launch adapter for Echo 1, although it does not appear to be an Echo 1-type launch vehicle adapter.

The Udvar-Hazy Center displays an Echo 1 flight spare canister and satellite.

 
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