Echo 1A, the first passive communications satellite, was successfully launched in 1960. The 100-foot diameter balloon reflected communications signals to desired locations. Only one other passive communications satellite was launched until NASA decided to use active satellites. Experts predicted Echo 1A would last only until 1964. However, Echo 1A remained intact and reentered earth’s atmosphere on May 24, 1968. The satellite was destroyed by friction and heat. Children could learn more at: Echo 1A.