Weststar I The Beginning of The Information Age…

by | Dec 18, 2021

Photo Delta 2914 rocket with Westar satellite at Cape Canaveral (April 1974)


I was sitting in my office looking at a CBS newscast on my desk in South Seattle on Orca St. in the summer of 1974. It was the biggest day in the history of the Western Union Telegraph Company since building the 1st interstate cross country microwave networks following the railroads across America…

I had started with Western Union (WU) in September 1965, fresh out of the US Navy. Becoming a Radioman in the US Navy was a dream when I was attending Radioman A School in San Diego, CA….

By the time I was Honorably separated from the Navy in September 1965, I went straight down to 755 S. Flower St. in downtown Los Angeles to join WU…

From there, I started hearing about the “Information Age.” WU was Ma Bell’s only competitor back then.

But WU had a significant edge in the telecommunications industry back then. In sales, we told customers “we know data!

WU designed and built the very first “Packet Switch” networks (x.25). WU built ARPAnet for the US Government’s global secure data communications networks. This was the very 1st glimpse of Internert.

I would be part if that era on the front lines of the Information Age, bar none…

This was the beginning of the “Information Age!” Do you remember? I wouldn’t be changing my career in telecommunications and media technology business anytime soon…

As I sat with my hot shot sales team that morning in the summer of 1974, we were watching Westar I launch from Cape Canaveral on that day so long ago now, We looked at each and stood silently for the longest time and said with cheers, stars an tears in our eyes, “we can sell some major shit with that!” But we did’nt know what that was until a little later…

This is was near the beginning of my long career in the telecommunications and media business.

“What’s next?” We talked of often after that moment. “What now?”

Satcom K1 being placed into orbit by the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1986. The illuminated (right hand) side of the satellite is one set of solar panels which were extended when the satellite propelled itself to its geostationary orbit… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geostationary_orbit
Steve and Judy Sparks
Children and Families in Life After Trauma

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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