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Meteor 1-8



Meteor 1-8 was the eighth fully operational Russian meteorological satellite and the seventeenth meteorological satellite launched from the Plesetsk site. The satellite was placed in a near-circular, near-polar prograde orbit to provide near-global observations of the Earth's weather systems, cloud cover, ice and snow fields, vertical profiles of temperature and moisture, and reflected and emitted radiation from the dayside and nightside of the Earth-atmosphere system for operational use by the Soviet Hydrometeorological Service.

Meteor 1 was equipped with two vidicon cameras for dayside photography, a scanning high-resolution IR radiometer for dayside and nightside photography, and an actinometric instrument for measuring the Earth's radiation field in the visible and infrared regions, and a medium-resolution scanning diffraction spectrometer for determining indirectly the vertical profiles of atmospheric temperature and humidity.

The satellite was in the form of a cylinder 5 m long and 1.5 m in diameter with two large solar panels attached to the sides. The solar panels were automatically oriented toward the sun to provide the spacecraft with the maximum amount of solar power. Meteor 1 was oriented toward the Earth by a gravity-gradient triaxial stabilization system consisting of flywheels whose kinetic energy was dampened by the use of controlled electromagnets on board that interacted with the magnetic field of the Earth.

The instruments were housed in the base of the satellite, which pointed toward the Earth, while the solar sensors were mounted in the top section. The operational 'Meteor' weather satellite system ideally consists of at least two satellites spaced at 90 degree intervals in longitude so as to observe a given area of the Earth approximately every 6 hours. When within communications range, the data acquired by Meteor 1 were transmitted directly to the ground receiving centers in Moscow, Novosibirsk, or Vladisvostok. Over regions beyond communication range, Meteor 1 recorded the TV and IR pictures, spectrometer data, and actinometric data and stored them on-board until the satellite passed over the receiving centers. The meteorological data received at these centers were processed, reduced, and sent to the Hydrometeorological Center in Moscow where they were analyzed and used to prepare various forecast and analysis products. Some of the TV and IR pictures and analyzed actinometric data were then distributed to various meteorological centers around the world.

Alternate Names

  • 05142
  • Meteor 8
  • Meteor1-8

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1971-04-17
Launch Vehicle: Modified SS-6 (Sapwood) with 1st Generation Upper Stage
Launch Site: Plesetsk, U.S.S.R
Mass: 1440 kg

Funding Agency

  • Soviet Hydrometeorological Service (U.S.S.R)


  • Earth Science

Additional Information

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



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Project ManagerSoviet Hydrometeorological Service
Project ScientistSoviet Hydrometeorological Service
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