COMMUNICATIONS: The Day of the Domsat

When a small, drum-shaped satellite was maneuvered into orbit 22,300 miles above the equator last week, a new era in communications, and communications-industry competition, began. The "bird," called Westar I, is the U.S.'s first commercial domestic satellite,* and the first of two to be launched by Western Union. By late summer, Westar will bounce back to receiving stations on earth such signals as twelve separate color television programs or up to 14, 000 private-line telephone calls—and charge bargain rates for the service.

Western Union's domestic satellite, or "domsat," thus poses a clear...

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