Inaugurated in the early 1960s, the Nimbus weather satellite program was designed to complement the first series of meteorological spacecraft, TIROS. Nimbus tested advanced instruments for observing earth's weather and studying the atmosphere as well as evaluated improved spacecraft designs.
Nimbus 1, launched in April 1964, failed after a month in orbit. Nimbus 2, launched in May 1966, operated for over two and a half years, demonstrating the observational value of an improved television camera system (the Advanced Vidicon Camera System) and of new infrared sensors (the High Resolution Infrared Radiometer and the Medium Resolution Infrared Radiometer). Of particular significance was a three-axis stabilized spacecraft design that allowed the satellite's instruments to point continuosly at the Earth's surface and gather data.
Altogether seven Nimbus satellites were launched; the last in 1978.
This artifact is a full-scale model of Nimbus 2, donated by General Electric, Missile and Space Division, to the Museum in 1968.
Gift of General Electric, Missile & Space Division