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TIROS (Television Infrared Observation System)





TIROS
A long-running series of polar-orbiting meteorological satellites. It began with 10 experimental spacecraft, TIROS 1 to 10, launched between 1960 and 1965, which represented the first generation of American weather satellites. These carried low-resolution television and infrared cameras, and were developed by the Goddard Space Flight Center and managed by ESSA (Environmental Science Services Administration). Then followed the TOS (TIROS Operational System) consisting of nine satellites with the ESSA designation. This gave way to the ITOS (Improved TIROS), beginning with TIROS-M and continuing with five satellites of the same design with the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) designation-NOAA having by this time absorbed ESSA and taken over management of the TIROS program. Further upgrades have come in the form of the TIROS-N, introduced in 1978, and the Advanced TIROS-N, introduced in 1984. See also Nimbus.

TIROS 1–10, ESSA 1–2, and ESSA 9 were launched from Cape Canaveral, while ESSA 3–8, TIROS-M, TIROS-N, and NOAA 1–16 were launched from Vandenberg.


series spacecraft launch date launch vehicle orbit mass (kg)
TIROS          
  TIROS 1 Apr. 1, 1960 Thor-Able 656 × 696 km × 48° 120
  TIROS 2 Nov. 23, 1960 Delta 547 × 610 km × 49° 130
  TIROS 3 Jul. 12, 1961 Delta 723 × 790 km × 48° 129
  TIROS 4 Feb. 8, 1962 Delta 693 × 812 km × 48° 129
  TIROS 5 Jun. 19, 1962 Delta 580 × 880 km × 58° 129
  TIROS 6 Sep. 18, 1962 Delta 631 × 654 km × 58° 127
  TIROS 7 Jun. 19, 1963 Delta B 338 × 349 km × 58° 135
  TIROS 8 Dec. 21, 1963 Delta B 667 × 705 km × 59° 119
  TIROS 9 Jan. 22, 1965 Delta C 701 × 2,564 km × 96° 138
  TIROS 10 Jul. 2, 1965 Delta C 722 × 807 km × 99° 127
TOS          
  ESSA 1 Feb. 3, 1966 Delta C 684 × 806 km × 98° 138
  ESSA 2 Feb. 28, 1966 Delta E 1,352 × 1,412 km × 101° 132
  ESSA 3 Oct. 2, 1966 Delta E 1,348 × 1,483 km × 101° 145
  ESSA 4 Jan. 26, 1967 Delta E 1,323 × 1,437 km × 102° 132
  ESSA 5 Apr. 20, 1967 Delta E 1,352 × 1,419 km × 102° 145
  ESSA 6 Nov. 10, 1967 Delta E 1,406 × 1,482 km × 102° 132
  ESSA 7 Aug. 16, 1968 Delta N 1,428 × 1,471 km × 101° 145
  ESSA 8 Dec. 15, 1968 Delta N 1,411 × 1,461 km × 102° 132
  ESSA 9 Feb. 26, 1969 Delta E 1,422 × 1,503 km × 101° 145
ITOS          
  TIROS M Jan. 23, 1970 Delta N 1,431 × 1,477 km × 101° 309
  NOAA 1 Dec. 11, 1970 Delta N 1,421 × 1,470 km × 101° 306
  NOAA 2 Oct. 15, 1972 Delta 100 1,446 × 1,453 km × 102° 344
  NOAA 3 Nov. 6, 1973 Delta 100 1,499 × 1,508 km × 102° 345
  NOAA 4 Nov. 15, 1974 Delta 2914 1,442 × 1,457 km × 102° 340
  NOAA 5 Jul. 29, 1976 Delta 2914 1,504 × 1,519 km × 102° 340
TIROS-N          
  TIROS N Oct. 13, 1978 Atlas F 829 × 845 km × 99° 734
  NOAA 6 Jun. 27, 1979 Atlas F 785 × 800 km × 99° 723
  NOAA 7 Jun. 23, 1981 Atlas F 828 × 847 km × 99° 1,405
  NOAA 12* May 14, 1991 Atlas E 805 × 824 km × 99° 1,416
Advanced TIROS-N          
  NOAA 8 Mar. 23, 1983 Atlas F 785 × 800 km × 99° 3,775
  NOAA 9 Dec. 12, 1984 Atlas E 833 × 855 km × 99° 1,712
  NOAA 10 Sep. 17, 1986 Atlas E 795 × 816 km × 99° 1,700
  NOAA 11 Sep. 24, 1988 Atlas E 838 × 854 km × 99° 1,712
  NOAA 13 Aug. 9, 1993 Atlas E 845 × 861 km × 99° 1,712
  NOAA 14 Dec. 30, 1994 Atlas E 847 × 861 km × 99° 1,712
  NOAA 15 May 13, 1998 Titan II 807 × 824 km × 99° 1,476
  NOAA 16 Sep 21, 2000 Titan II 853 × 867 km × 99° 1,476

                        * N.b. NOAA 12 was launched out of sequence.



early image returned by TIROS 1
One of the first images returned (May 9, 1960) by TIROS-1. Superimposed on the cloud patterns is a generalized weather map for the region.

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