December 18, 1958 – U.S. launches first communications satellite, SCORE
The U.S. successfully launched the world’s first communications satellite aboard an Atlas rocket on December 18, 1958. It was called SCORE (Signal Communications Orbit Relay Equipment). Wikipedia says, “SCORE provided a first test of a communications relay system in space and captured world attention by broadcasting a Christmas message via short wave frequency from U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower through an onboard tape recorder.”
The SCORE program was part of the U.S. response to the late 1957 launch of SPUTNIK by the Soviet Union.
The very first transmitted message from space to the world came via SCORE from President Dwight D. Eisenhower:
This is the President of the United States speaking. Through the marvels of scientific advance, my voice is coming to you from a satellite traveling 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.