Communications Satellite Corporation (Comsat), organization incorporated (1962) by an act of Congress to establish a commercial system of international communications using artificial satellites. Although government sponsored, it was financed by a public stock issue. The launching in 1965 of its first satellite, Early Bird, also known as Intelsat 1, inaugurated a transatlantic service; Asian service was established 18 months later. With more than 140 representatives of other nations, Comsat is a member of the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization, Intelsat (formerly called the International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium). Through member-company satellites and earth stations around the world, the consortium provides for international communications via telephone and television. Comsat is also the U.S. representative to the International Mobile Satellite Organization, Inmarsat (formerly called the International Maritime Satellite Organization). Established in 1979 to serve the maritime industry by developing satellite communications for ship management and distress and safety applications, Inmarsat presently has 86 member countries and has expanded into land, mobile, and aeronautical communications. See communications satellite.
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