Beginning in 1958 with Explorer I, an Earth-orbiting Satellite, Motorola provided communications equipment for most NASA space flights for decades.
ONE GIANT LEAP
In the 1960s, the U.S. space program had an ambitious goal to land a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth. Success came when Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969. The effort required the support of many U.S. companies, scientists and engineers, including a large team from Motorola.
Motorola engineers designed and produced semiconductors, ground-based tracking and checkout equipment, and 12 on-board tracking and communications units that transmitted telemetry, tracking, voice communications and TV signals between Earth and the moon.
On July 20, 1969, Motorola communications equipment enabled people around the world to share the achievement as astronaut Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon—250,000 miles (400,000km) away—and announced, “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”
First Car Radio on the Moon
In 1971 NASA’s lunar roving vehicle used a Motorola FM radio receiver to provide voice and data communications between the moon and Earth. This “first car radio on the moon’ was 100 time more sensitive than a standard car radio and weighed only 1.5 pounds (680 grams). The device you see here is a reproduction; the original radio is still on the moon.