|Inverse reports on the pioneering Amateur Radio satellite OSCAR 1, launched 60 years ago on December 12, 1961|
The Inverse article says:
Groups like the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT), an international confederation of ham radio operators, have been flying small private satellites for years, well before the first CubeSats flew in 2003.
"CubeSats actually started with AMSAT, but they didn’t get a lot of credit for it, unfortunately,” former Lockheed satellite technician and ham radio enthusiast Lance Ginner K6GSJ tells Inverse.
Ginner would know. He was there at the very beginning, 60 years ago, for the design and launch of OSCAR 1, which was history-making in a few ways. It was:
• The first smallsat
• The first private, non-government spacecraft
• The first spacecraft to hitch a ride on another launch
It took a while, entire professional lifetimes, but virtually everything that enabled the commercial small satellite industry of the 2020s was there in an embryonic form on a Vandenberg Air Force Base launch pad on December 12, 1961.
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