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Image Dissector Camera System (IDCS)

NSSDCA ID: 1969-037A-06

Mission Name: Nimbus 3
Principal Investigator:Mr. Gilbert A. Branchflower


The Nimbus 3 Image Dissector Camera System (IDCS) was designed to take daytime cloudcover photographs. The pictures could be transmitted to APT stations using the real-time transmission system (RTTS) or stored on magnetic tape for subsequent playback to ground acquisition stations. The camera was mounted on the bottom of the satellite sensory ring and pointed vertically down toward the earth at all times. The image dissector was a shutterless electronic scan and step tube mounted behind a wide-angle (108 deg), 5.7-mm focal length lens. Scanning and stepping functions occurred continuously while the satellite progressed along its orbital path. The field of view of the optics was 73.6 deg in the direction of flight and 98.2 deg in a plane normal to the direction of flight. The image was focused by the optics on a photosensitive surface of the image dissector tube. A line-scanning beam scanned the photosensitive surface at 4 Hz with a frame period of 200 s. At the nominal spacecraft altitude of 1100 km, each resulting picture was approximately 1400 km on a side, with a ground resolution of 3 km at nadir. For a more detailed description, see Section 2 of "The Nimbus III User's Guide" (TRF B03409). The experiment was a success and produced good data until September 25, 1970, when operations were terminated owing to spacecraft yaw problems. Data from this experiment are available through SDSD. The IDCS world montages were presented in "The Nimbus III Data Catalog" (TRF B06523), available from NSSDC.

Alternate Names

  • IDCS
  • Nimbus3/IDCS

Facts in Brief

Mass: 11.2 kg
Power (avg): 18 W

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Science Applications (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. Gilbert A. BranchflowerPrincipal InvestigatorSPAR Aerospace
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