Tiros Satellite Documents

The Television Infra-Red Observation Satellite (Tiros) program was an outgrowth of the weather satellite program of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the mid-1950s. In 1958 ARPA let out a contract to the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) for ten satellites. In April 1959 the newly created National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) assumed responsibility for Project Tiros and the first of ten research and development launches occurred one year later (1 April 1960). On 2 July 1965 NASA launches the tenth and last of the original RCA satellites, by which time NASA, the Weather Bureau (later the Environmental Science Services Administration, ESSA), and RCA had agreed on the Tiros Operational Satellite (TOS) program. The nine TOS system satellites, coded ESSA, were all launched successfully between February 1966 and February 1969. The ESSA series were followed by five Improved Tiros Operational System (ITOS) satellites, for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the successor to ESSA. The Tiros/TOS/ESSA program provided the first system for gathering meteorological information, including daily information on cloud cover, upper level winds, pressure, and precipitation on a global scale.