(Television and Infrared Observation Satellite)
world's first weather satellite, TIROS-1, was launched on April 1,1960.
It provided more than 22,000 pictures of the Earth from orbit. This new
way to look at Earth's weather revolutionized the science of storm prediction.
Now even the most remote places on Earth could be monitored regularly.
Between 1960 and
1965, nine more satellites were launched in the TIROS program. TIROS instruments
included wide and narrow angle television cameras.
The Air and Space
Museum's satellite is a TIROS-II prototype designed for ground testing.
Courtesy of NASA
Views of Earth's
weather patterns from TIROS I
(Improved TIROS Operational System) satellites were the second series of
TIROS operational satellites. Their predecessors, the TOS (TIROS Operational
System) satellites represented a step up from a research and development
phase into a fully operational program. ITOS-1, launched in January 1970,
greatly surpassed the performance of the earlier satellites by providing
both direct transmission and storage of television and infrared imagery.
Later ITOS spacecraft also supplied vertical profiles of atmospheric temperature.
ITOS satellites remained in service through 1979. (16k jpg)
(Improved TIROS Operational System)
The Air and Space
Museum's ITOS satellite was designed for ground engineering tests.
Courtesy of RCA Astro Electronics.
in 1978, TIROS-N was the first in the series of the third generation polar
orbiting operational satellites. TIROS-N was equipped with instruments for
visible and infrared imaging, ocean temperature readings, and atmospheric
studies. Later satellites in the series were designated NOAA. (52k jpg)
The Museum's 1/10 Scale model is courtesy of RCA Astro Electronics
in June 2002, NOAA 17 is the latest in the advanced TIROS-N (ATN) series
of satellites. Like its predessors, this polar-orbiting spacecraft supports
environmental monitoring instruments for the imaging and measurement of
the Earth's atmosphere, surface, and cloud cover. The main instrument of
the NOAA satellites, the AVHRR (Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer)
collects a variety of data, including the properties of vegetation, cloud
cover, snow, and ice cover, and land and sea surface. NOAA 17 is also the
third spacecraft in the series to carry microwave instruments for the collection
of temperature, moisture, surface and hydrological data in cloudy regions
where visible and infrared instruments are not as effective. (41k jpg)