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Advanced Vidicon Camera System (AVCS)

NSSDCA ID: 1967-036A-01

Mission Name: ESSA 5
Principal Investigator:


The ESSA 5 Advanced Vidicon Camera System (AVCS) was a combination camera, tape recorder, and transmitter that could record and store a series of remote daytime cloudcover pictures for subsequent playback to a ground data acquisition facility. The ESSA AVCS system consisted of two redundant wide-angle cameras with 2.54-cm vidicons. The cameras were mounted 180 deg apart on the side of the spacecraft, with their optical axes perpendicular to the spin axis. The camera optic system employed a 108-deg lens with a focal length of 6.0 mm. Each camera was independently triggered into action only when it came in view of the earth. A video frame consisted of 0.25 sec of blanked video followed by 6.25 sec of vidicon scan (833 lines) and a final 0.25-sec period of blanked video. Concurrent with shutter actuation, a 16-increment gray scale was included at the edge of each picture frame as a contrast check. A four-track tape recorder could store up to 36 pictures. The data could be read out between picture-taking cycles without losing a picture or interrupting a sequence. Six or 12 AVCS pictures per orbit could be programmed. At nominal attitude and altitude (approximately 1450 km), a picture covered a 3100- by 3100-km square with a horizontal resolution of about 3 km at nadir. There was a 50 percent overlap along the track between successive pictures to ensure conplete coverage. The experiment was a success, and good data were obtained until October 8, 1967, when the system was turned operationally off. Data from this experiment are available from the National Climatic Center, Asheville, NC. For an index of available data, see the 'Catalog of meteorological satellite data - ESSA 3, ESSA 5, and ESSA 7 television cloud photography' for sale from the U.S. Superintendent of Documents -- or see data set 67-036A-01A. Identical experiments were flown on ESSA 3, 7, and 9.

Alternate Names

  • AVCS

Funding Agency

  • Environmental Science Service Administration (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
Principal InvestigatorNOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service
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