December 12, 1961-First Amateur Radio satellite took to the skies, OSCAR 1

History – On December 12, 1961 the first Amateur Radio satellite took to the skies. Known as OSCAR 1 (Orbiting Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio), the satellite was part of a payload launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base aboard an Agena rocket. It was inserted into a 431 X 245 kilometer orbit inclined about 81 degrees to the Earth’s equator.

The satellite was in orbit for 22 days and was heard by more than 570 amateurs in 28 countries as it sent “HI” in high speed Morse code on 2 meters. (Listen to an original audio recording here.) OSCAR 1 re-entered Earth’s atmosphere on January 31, 1962.