18 December 1958

Project SCORE, the world’s first communications satellite, is launched.

Launched on December 18, 1958, Project SCORE was a joint effort between the United States Army Signal Research and Development Laboratory (SRDL) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It marked an important milestone in the history of satellite communications.

Project SCORE carried a tape recorder that could record and play back voice messages. The satellite was equipped with an American Flag and a Christmas message, and it transmitted President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s pre-recorded Christmas message to the world. The satellite’s broadcast could be received on Earth using simple VHF receivers.

While Project SCORE wasn’t the first artificial satellite in orbit (that honor goes to the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1, launched in 1957), it demonstrated the potential of satellites for global communication. The success of Project SCORE paved the way for future developments in satellite communication, leading to the establishment of a global satellite communication infrastructure.