(COMSAT General Corporation, Bethesda, MD) Formerly Communications Satellite Corporation, COMSAT was a private company that was created by the U.S. Congress in 1962 to provide satellite communications to major carriers and organizations. In 1965, it launched Early Bird, the first commercial satellite in geostationary orbit. COMSAT served as the U.S. signatory for INTELSAT and Inmarsat, and its primary business was providing communications over the INTELSAT system.
In 2000, COMSAT was acquired by Lockheed Martin Corporation and operated as a wholly owned subsidiary. At the end of 2004, governmental regulatory approval was obtained to transfer its ownership to Intelsat, Ltd., which bid to acquire COMSAT General and its existing fixed and mobile satellite system contracts from Lockheed Martin.
The Early Bird
COMSAT launched the Early Bird in 1965, the first commercial geostationary satellite. Before the end of the century, some 250 more would follow. (Image courtesy of COMSAT Corporation.)