Since telemetry is a term used to describe a general process that can involve many different technologies, several inventors could be named in the complex development of telemetry.
HistoryThe original telemetry systems were termed supervisory because they were used to monitor electric power distribution. In the first such system, installed in Chicago in 1912, telephone lines were used for transmitting data on the operation of a number of electric power plants to a central office. Since then telemetry has spread to other fields each making improvements and modifications to suit the desired purpose.
Aerospace TelemetryAerospace telemetry started in the 1930s with the radiosonde, a device that automatically measured temperature, barometric pressure and humidity from a balloon high in space, and sent the data back to Earth using a radio signal. Aerospace telemetry for rockets and satellites began on the Soviet satellite Sputnik, launched in 1957. The technology developed in aerospace telemetry has crossed over to many industrial operations; i.e. the testing of internal-combustion engines, watching steam turbines in operation or conveyor belts inside mass-production ovens.
In 1960, the interrogation-reply principle was developed. This is a highly automated arrangement in which the transmitter at the measuring location automatically transmits needed data only after being signaled. The interrogation-reply principle is now used in such fields as oil-pipeline monitor-control systems and oceanography.