The first passive satellite transponder was developed and launched by the United States in 1960. The satellite, known as Echo 1, was a large metallic balloon that was able to reflect radio signals back to Earth.
The Echo 1 satellite was launched into a low Earth orbit and had a diameter of approximately 100 feet. The balloon was made of a special material that was able to maintain its shape in the vacuum of space, and was coated with a layer of aluminum that allowed it to reflect radio waves.
The satellite was used to study the properties of the upper atmosphere and to test the feasibility of using passive satellites for communications. By bouncing radio signals off the satellite, researchers were able to demonstrate that such satellites could be used as relay stations for long-distance communications.
The success of the Echo 1 satellite led to the development of a series of similar satellites, known as Echo 2 and Echo 3. These satellites were larger and more sophisticated than the original Echo 1, and were used for a variety of scientific and military applications.
Today, passive satellite transponders are used extensively for a wide range of applications, including satellite television, satellite radio, and satellite-based navigation systems. They are a critical component of modern telecommunications infrastructure, and have revolutionized the way we communicate and navigate in space.
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