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Advanced Vidicon Camera System (AVCS)

NSSDCA ID: 1964-052A-01

Mission Name: Nimbus 1
Principal Investigator:Mr. Gerald L. Burdett


The Nimbus 1 Advanced Vidicon Camera System (AVCS), which consisted of three cameras, a tape recorder, and an S-band transmitter, recorded and stored a series of remote daytime cloudcove pictures for subsequent playback to selected ground data acquisition stations. The AVCS cameras were mounted on the satellite sensory ring, facing earthward and deployed in a fan-like array to produce a three-segment composite picture. Each camera covered a 37-deg field of view with the center camera pointing straight down. The optical axes of the other two cameras were directed 35 deg to either side. Each of the cameras employed an f/4 lens with a focal length of 16.5 mm. A potentiometer attached to the solar array controlled the lens opening from f/16 when the spacecraft was over the equator to f/4 when it was near the poles. The 800-scan-line, 2.54-cm-diameter vidicon pickup tubes yielded a linear resolution of better than 1 km at nadir from an altitude of 800 km. At this altitude, the camera array produced a composite picture covering an area of 830 by 2700 km. Up to 192 pictures (two full orbits of data) or 64 pictures per camera could be stored on tape for subsequent playback to an acquisition station. Using a transmission frequency of 1707.5 MHz, the two orbits of pictures could be telemetered to a ground station in 4 min. The AVCS experiment was highly successful. It provided the first near-global, high-resolution cloudcover pictures ever assembled and confirmed the decision to use this particular camera assembly as a basis for the first operational satellite system TOS/ESSA (TIROS Operational System/Environmental Science Services Administration). Data from this experiment can be obtained through SDSD. For an index of the data, see "Nimbus 1 Users' Catalog: AVCS and APT" (TRF B04499), available from NSSDC.

Alternate Names

  • AVCS
  • Nimbus1/AVCS

Funding Agency

  • Unknown (United States)


  • Earth Science: Atmospheric Dynamics

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. Gerald L. BurdettPrincipal InvestigatorNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
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