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Model, Meteorological Satellite, Tiros


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:

This is a 1/2 scale model of Tiros (Television Infrared Observation Satellite) I, the world's first weather satellite, launched in April 1960. The model, built by RCA, the manufacturer of the actual Tiros satellite, uses a color-coded scheme to explain the internal make-up of the spacecraft.

Using a television-camera system, Tiros I 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. Tiros I led to the start of separate, but technically similar civilian and military space-based weather observation programs. The civilian Tiros program is still in operation today and, in conjunction with other weather satellites, has made space-based observations a commonplace part of television weather reports.

This artifact was transferred to the Museum from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1965.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


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


Credit Line

Transferred from National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Plastic, aluminum


Overall (not including stand and antennas): 1ft 4in. x 1ft 9 1/4in. (40.64 x 53.98cm)

Country of Origin

United States of America


MODELS-Unmanned Spacecraft & Parts

Inventory Number