NOVEMBER 23, 1960: NASA Launches TIROS-2 Satellite from Cape Canaveral to Study Weather on Earth

By  //  November 23, 2020

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Delicious Digg This Stumble This

Operational Period: 376 days

ABOVE VIDEO: Tiros II Weatherman Satellite.

BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA (NASA) – The TIROS Program (Television Infrared Observation Satellite) was NASA’s first experimental step to determine if satellites could be useful in the study of the Earth.

At that time, the effectiveness of satellite observations was still unproven. Since satellites were a new technology, the TIROS Program also tested various design issues for spacecraft: instruments, data and operational parameters. The goal was to improve satellite applications for Earth-bound decisions, such as “should we evacuate the coast because of the hurricane?”.

The TIROS Program’s first priority was the development of a meteorological satellite information system. Weather forecasting was deemed the most promising application of space-based observations.

TIROS proved extremely successful, providing the first accurate weather forecasts based on data gathered from space. TIROS began continuous coverage of the Earth’s weather in 1962, and was used by meteorologists worldwide. The program’s success with many instrument types and orbital configurations lead to the development of more sophisticated meteorological observation satellites.

TIROS-2

Objectives: To test the experimental television techniques and infrared equipment designed to develop a worldwide meteorological satellite information system. To evaluate a new attitude control system for spacecraft orientation which utilizes the Earth’s magnetic field.

Description: The spacecraft was 42 inches in diameter, 19 inches high and weighed 280 pounds. The craft was made of aluminum alloy and stainless steel which was then covered by 9260 solar cells. The solar cells served to charge the nicad batteries. Two television cameras were housed in the craft, one low-resolution and one high-resolution. A magnetic tape recorder for each camera was supplied for storing photographs while the satellite was out of range of the ground station network. In addition, an infrared horizon sensor for attitude control, a direction indicator for picture orientation, two infrared radiation experiments, and a magnetic orientation control experiment were included.

The spacecraft was 42 inches in diameter, 19 inches high and weighed 280 pounds. The craft was made of aluminum alloy and stainless steel which was then covered by 9260 solar cells. The solar cells served to charge the nicad batteries. Two television cameras were housed in the craft, one low-resolution and one high-resolution. A magnetic tape recorder for each camera was supplied for storing photographs while the satellite was out of range of the ground station network. In addition, an infrared horizon sensor for attitude control, a direction indicator for picture orientation, two infrared radiation experiments, and a magnetic orientation control experiment were included.

The antennas consisted of four rods from the base plate to serve as transmitters and one vertical rod from the center of the top plate to serve as a receiver. The video systems relayed thousands of pictures containing cloud-cover views of the Earth. Early photographs provided information concerning the structure of large-scale cloud regimes. In addition, the experiment to partially control the orientation of the satellite spin axis was successful, as was the experiment with infrared sensors.

Participants: NASA, US ARMY Signal Research and Development Lab, RCA, US Weather Bureau, US Naval Photographic Interpretation Center.

TIROS-2 Stats:

Launch Date: November, 23, 1960
Operational Period: 376 days
Launch Vehicle: Three-stage Delta
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, FL
Type: Weather Satellite

CLICK HERE FOR BREVARD COUNTY NEWS

Leave a Comment