This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.
Collection Item Summary:
This is a backup of the Improved Tiros Operational Satellite (ITOS). Initiated in 1970, the system was a series of six satellites that provided, for the first time, day-to-day, routine weather observation from space for the benefit of the general public. The ITOS succeeded the TIROS series of satellites, which began providing data on the earth's weather in 1960 and proved the technologies of space-based observation.
ITOS flew in a polar, sun syncronous orbit and, in a crucial improvement from the TIROS series, was stabilized to always point its cameras and other sensors at the Earth. The satellite carried Automatic Picture Transmission cameras to provide instant weather data to ground stations around the world; Advanced Vidicon Camera Subsystems for detailed observations; and scanning radiometers for imaging the earth at night.
The Museum's artifact is a backup spacecraft bus, complete with instruments and was transferred to the Museum from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 1978.