The world's first communications satellite, Project SCORE
The world's first communications satellite, Project SCORE (Signal Communications by Orbiting Relay Equipment) was launched from Cape Canaveral (Florida) into space on December 18th in 1958, aboard the rocket Atlas-B 10B.
The US and USSR were right in the space race - this was the American response to the Soviet Union's successful launch of Sputnik 1 and Sputnik 2 - and as such, project development was extremely secretive: only 88 people knew about it.
The following day, a pre-recorded Christmas address by 34th US President Dwight D. Eisenhower was broadcast from space, via short wave radio transmission. This was an unprecedented technological feat as it showed that it was possible to transmit messages to Earth from space.
"This is the President of the United States speaking. Through the marvels of scientific advance, my voice is coming to you from a satellite circling in outer space. My message is a simple one: through this unique means I convey to you and to all mankind, America's wish for peace on Earth and goodwill toward men everywhere."