Photo of Joseph V. Charyk

Joseph V. Charyk

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Management

For employment of the concept of the geosynchronous communications satellite systems as the basis for a global telecommunications system, established by international agreement, and for his guidance in the development and growth of the intelsat system, which today services over 150 nations and territories.

Joseph V. Charyk is widely credited as the founder of the geosynchronous communications satellite industry—satellites that remain in a stationary orbit around Earth. He fought skepticism that this untested technology would not work for voice transmission because of a half-second time delay.

Charyk raised funds to support a new industry of telecommunications satellites, and enlisted the cooperation of countries around the world. His efforts launched a global system that laid the groundwork for the geosynchronous communications satellite systems we rely on for global communications., television broadcasting, weather forecasting and defense.

Charyk also brought the first United States imagery satellite, CORONA, into operation and demonstrated signals intelligence technology from space. The CORONA satellites played an important role during the Cold War, and were used for photographic surveillance and reconnaissance.

By Jen Santisi