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Spaced Out

December 18, 2014

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Profile America — Thursday, December 18th. The satellite Atlas was launched from Cape Canaveral on this date in 1958. The spacecraft would make history the next day, beaming the first voice heard from space -- a recording of President Eisenhower with a 58-word Christmas greeting. These words came at the height of the Cold War and the space race with the Soviet Union. Today, satellites daily perform vital functions -- tracking the weather, relaying millions of telephone calls and computer links, as well as radio and television signals. Currently, there are around 1,200 active satellites in Earth orbit. Satellite telecommunications in the U.S. involves hundreds of establishments in a $4.5 billion a year business, and employs over 10,000 people. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <http://www.census.gov>.

Sources:
Atlas launch & voice recording
Current satellite count

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | Last Revised: November 24, 2014