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Objects on Display

Data Recorder, Magnetic Tape, Meteorological Satellite, Tiros

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This object is on display in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.


Manufacturer: Radio Corporation of America

Country of Origin: United States of America

Dimensions: Overall: 7 in. tall (17.8cm)
Other: 13 in. diameter x 7 in. tall (33 x 17.8cm)

Materials: Overall: aluminum, ceramics, palstics, copper

TIROS (Television Infrared Observation Satellite) I, launched in April 1960, was the world's first weather satellite. TIROS imaged large swaths of the Earth's surface, allowing forecasters and scientists to see directly for the first time the large-scale features of our planet's weather systems. Operating for three months, the satellite transmitted thousands of images of cloud patterns and other phenomena to ground stations.

This is an engineering model assembled from spare components of the magnetic tape data recorder flown on Tiros I, the first weather satellite. The instrument was designed to record television images gathered by the satellite's sensors and later, as the spacecraft passed over Earth ground stations, play back the data. This technology provided the first television images from space.

Lockheed Martin donated this artifact to the Museum in 1998.

Gift of Lockheed Martin

Inventory number: A19980293000

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