Harold Rosen

National Medal of Technology and Innovation

Aerospace

For their technological contributions and leadership in the initiation and development of geostationary communications satellites, significantly improving worldwide communications and giving the United States international preeminence in the construction of commercial satellites.

For their technological contributions and leadership in the initiation and development of geostationary communications satellites, significantly improving worldwide communications and giving the United States international preeminence in the construction of commercial satellites.

VIEW STATISTICS +

Birth
March 20, 1926
Age Awarded
59
Awarded With
Allen E. Puckett
Country of Birth
USA
Key Contributions
Commercial Satellite Production
Geostationary Satellite
Awarded by
Ronald Wilson Reagan
Education
Tulane University
California Institute of Technology
Areas of Impact
Transportation
Communication & Information
Affiliations
Hughes Aircraft Company
Other Prizes
National Inventors Hall of Fame
Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering
A

After the first artificial satellite launched in 1957, AT&T developed plans for a communications satellite network that involved 20-40 satellites orbiting at low altitudes. However, Harold Rosen favored the idea of a satellite in geostationary orbit, 22,000 miles directly above the equator. The orbit would allow the satellite to remain stationary and provide continuous coverage over a third of the world, requiring only three satellites for a worldwide network.

Rosen was able to convince initially reluctant executives at Hughes Aircraft Company to fund the production of a prototype. On July 26, 1963, Rosen’s team launched a lightweight satellite called Syncom that could receive signals from Earth and then transmit them back across the globe.

Rosen went on to build the world’s largest communications satellite business at Hughes, ushering in a new technological era. Today, over 1,000 satellites orbit the Earth with a variety of functions, including monitoring weather and broadcasting radio, television and internet. 

By Jen Santisi

...