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TIROS 1 (Television and InfraRed Observation Satellite), the first weather satellite, was designed to test the feasibility of obtaining and using TV cloudcover pictures from satellites. The spin-stabilized satellite was in the form of an 18-sided right prism, 107 cm across opposite corners and 56 cm high, with a reinforced baseplate carrying most of the subsystems, and a cover assembly (hat). Spacecraft power was supplied by approximately 9000 1- by 2-cm silicon solar cells mounted on the cover assembly and by 21 nickel-cadmium batteries. A single monopole antenna for reception of ground commands extended out from the top of the cover assembly. A pair of crossed-dipole telemetry antennas (235 MHz) projected down and diagonally out from the baseplate. Mounted around the edge of the baseplate were five diametrically opposed pairs of small, solid-fuel thrusters that maintained the satellite spin rate between 8 and 12 rpm. The satellite was equipped with two 1.27-cm-diameter vidicon TV cameras, one wide angle and one narrow angle, for taking earth cloudcover pictures. The pictures were transmitted directly to a ground receiving station or were stored in a tape recorder on board for later playback, depending on whether the satellite was within or beyond the communication range of the station. The satellite performed normally from launch until June 15, 1960, when an electrical power failure prevented further useful TV transmission.

Alternate Names

  • 00029
  • 1960 Beta 2
  • TIROS1

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1960-04-01
Launch Vehicle: Thor
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States
Mass: 122.5 kg

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Science Applications (United States)


  • Earth Science

Additional Information

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



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. William G. StroudProject ManagerNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Mr. H. I. ButlerProject ScientistNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Morris TepperProgram ScientistNASA Goddard Space Flight Center

TIROS 1 50th Anniversary Page - Earth Observatory

TIROS Program - NASA Science

[Tiros Satellite Image]

[Tiros 1 Satellite]

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