November 21, 2007

Satellite Launched Into Newseum Orbit

A replica of the groundbreaking Applications Technology Satellite 1 is hoisted into place in the Newseum’s atrium. (Ann Marie Czaban)
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A replica of the groundbreaking Applications Technology Satellite 1 is hoisted into place in the Newseum’s atrium. (Ann Marie Czaban)

A replica of the groundbreaking Applications Technology Satellite 1 is hoisted into place in the Newseum’s atrium. (Ann Marie Czaban)
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A replica of the groundbreaking Applications Technology Satellite 1 is hoisted into place in the Newseum’s atrium. (Ann Marie Czaban)

A replica of the groundbreaking Applications Technology Satellite 1 is hoisted into place in the Newseum’s atrium. (Ann Marie Czaban)
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A replica of the groundbreaking Applications Technology Satellite 1 is hoisted into place in the Newseum’s atrium. (Ann Marie Czaban)

A replica of the groundbreaking Applications Technology Satellite 1 is hoisted into place in the Newseum’s atrium. (Ann Marie Czaban)
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A replica of the groundbreaking Applications Technology Satellite 1 is hoisted into place in the Newseum’s atrium. (Ann Marie Czaban)

A replica of the groundbreaking Applications Technology Satellite 1 is hoisted into place in the Newseum’s atrium. (Ann Marie Czaban)
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A replica of the groundbreaking Applications Technology Satellite 1 is hoisted into place in the Newseum’s atrium. (Ann Marie Czaban)

A replica of the groundbreaking Applications Technology Satellite 1 is hoisted into place in the Newseum’s atrium. (Ann Marie Czaban)
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A replica of the groundbreaking Applications Technology Satellite 1 is hoisted into place in the Newseum’s atrium. (Ann Marie Czaban)

In the highest reaches of the Newseum, visitors will be able to catch a glimpse of outer space and a piece of news history — a replica of Applications Technology Satellite 1 (ATS 1). The satellite, launched by NASA in 1966, was the first to send and receive signals simultaneously. The next year, it was the third link in a satellite chain that made possible the first live global television broadcast — a two-hour telecast called "Our World," which was watched by viewers in 24 countries and featured live segments from around the world.

Installing the 500-pound aluminum-and-Plexiglas replica above the Newseum’s atrium proved a challenge in many ways. Hanging anything from a 90-foot-high ceiling would be a demanding process, but the path to hoist this artifact was crisscrossed by several staircases that connect floors across the atrium. Workers from United Rigging used ropes to steady and steer the satellite through the fissures as a mechanical winch noisily lifted ATS 1 from floor to ceiling.

A tight squeeze was made even tighter by eight spiny antennas that had been attached the day before by Ely Inc., the company that made the replica. The antennas finally had to be removed for the satellite to make the trip to the ceiling (a lucky Newseum staffer will go up in a Genie lift to reattach them another day).

With final adjustments to height and pitch made at 90 feet, ATS 1 was securely hung in place, frozen in orbit above Pennsylvania Avenue. All in a day’s work at the Newseum!

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