The Thrilla is Gone

Well, at least one of them.

Smokin Joe Frazier passed away. Why does it matter to rocket scientists? He was one of the two boxers who fought in the Thrilla in Manila on 30 September 1975 (1 October locally, for all you international dateliners). The other was Muhammad Ali and it was their third fight, carried via satellite for closed-circuit viewing in the U.S. and, most importantly, to cable systems experimenting with using C-band satellites for distributing video to their cable headends.

It worked. HBO went from tower-to-tower distribution to full national availability via satellite. In fact, it was their commitment to RCA Americom that incubated, nurtured and grew the domestic satellite system to be the best in the world.

Without the Thrilla in Manila, I doubt so many fine rocket scientists would be employed today. Although that’s changing, too.

Here’s a fitting video tribute to that boxing match…

Tags: , , , , ,