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TIROS 6 (Television and InfraRed Observation Satellite) was designed to further demonstrate the capability of a satellite to observe, record, and transmit TV cloudcover pictures for use in operational weather analysis and forecasting. 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). Electrical power was provided 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 from the top of the cover assembly. A pair of crossed-dipole telemetry antennas (235 MHz) projected down and diagonally out from the baseplate. The satellite spin rate was maintained between 8 and 12 rpm by the use of five diametrically opposed pairs of small solid-fuel thrusters mounted around the edge of the baseplate. Proper attitude was maintained to within a 1- to 2-deg accuracy by use of a magnetic control device consisting of 250 coils of wire wound around the outer surface of the spacecraft. The interaction between the induced magnetic field in the spacecraft and the earth's magnetic field provided the torque necessary for attitude control. The satellite was equipped with two 1.27-cm vidicon TV cameras, one medium angle and one wide angle, for taking earth cloudcover pictures. The pictures were transmitted directly to either of two ground receiving stations or were stored in a tape recorder on board for subsequent playback, depending on whether the satellite was within or beyond the communcation range of the station. The satellite performed normally from launch until November 29, 1962, when the medium-angle camera vidicon failed. The wide-angle camera vidicon system failed on October 21, 1963, and the spacecraft was deactivated shortly thereafter.

Image shows Tiros 7, virtually identical in appearance to Tiros 6.

Alternate Names

  • 00397
  • 1962 Alpha Psi 1
  • A 51
  • TIROS6

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1962-09-18
Launch Vehicle: Thor-Delta
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States
Mass: 127.5 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. R. M. RadosProject ManagerNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Morris TepperProgram ScientistNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
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