Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

Operating from 1984-1990, the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) was the first scientific effort to develop a broad-based data set of the Earth's radiation budget. ERBE measured the balance between incoming long and short wave radiation to the Earth system and the emission of such radiation back into space (the radiation budget).

To gather the budget data, required using three instruments, each on a separate spacecraft--NOAA 9 and NOAA 10, operating in polar orbits as well as the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite, operating at an inclined orbit.

The ERBE instruments the foundation for developing climate models that more accurately represented the Earth as physical system and the large-scale impacts of human activity, especially from CO2 emissions. This artifact is an engineering model used in development and testing, as well as for assessment of the three flight units once in orbit.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Credit Line

Transferred from NASA


Aluminum, copper, glass, plastic, mylar


Overall: 53.3 w × 63.5 h × 45.7 d cm (1 ft. 9 in. × 2 ft. 1 in. × 1 ft. 6 in.)

Country of Origin

United States of America



Inventory Number