The world’s second planned commercial communication satellite Intelsat II F-1 was launched October 26, 1966, but failed to achieve geosynchronous orbit. Despite its non synchronous orbit, the satellite was used briefly to transmit live television and other communications traffic.
Before the satellite was out of range, an agreement was secured by Australia to allow our television stations to use the doomed satellite for a direct broadcast to Britain, before it drifting away over the Indian Ocean.
At short notice, a large contingent of ABC engineers, technicians with an EMI equipped Bedford outside broadcast van, link truck and support vehicles were driven the 900km from ABW Channel 2 in Perth to Carnarvon.
For up to twenty minutes, a one-way television link was set up between Carnarvon and the Goonhilly Down Earth Station in the UK. The highlight was a direct telecast between the ABC and BBC which reunited British immigrants living in Carnarvon with their relatives who had been brought into the BBC studios.
Newspaper stories about the program: