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NOAA-B was the second in a series of third-generation, operational meteorological satellites for use in the National Operational Environmental Satellite Subsystem (NOESS) and to support the Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP) during 1978-84. The satellite design provided an economical and stable sun-synchronous platform for advanced operational instruments to measure the earth's atmosphere, its surface and cloud cover, and the near-space environment. Primary sensors included an advanced very high resolution radiometer (AVHRR) for observing daytime and nighttime global cloud cover and an operational vertical sounder for obtaining temperature and water vapor profiles through the earth's atmosphere. Secondary experiments consisted of a space environment monitor (SEM), which measured the proton and electron flux near the earth, and a data collection and platform location system (DCS), which processed and relayed to central data acquisition stations the various meteorological data received from free-floating balloons and ocean bouys distributed around the globe. The satellite was based upon the Block 5D spacecraft bus developed for the US Air Force, and was capable of maintaining an earth-pointing accuracy of better than plus or minus 0.1 deg with a motion rate of less than 0.035 deg/s. Due to a malfunction in the launch vehicle, NOAA-B did not achieve the proper orbit.

Alternate Names

  • 11819

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1980-05-29
Launch Vehicle: Atlas F
Launch Site: Vandenberg AFB, United States
Mass: 588.9 kg

Funding Agencies

  • NOAA National Environmental Satellite Service (United States)
  • NASA-Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications (United States)


  • Communications
  • Space Physics
  • Earth Science

Additional Information

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



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. Michael L. GarbaczProgram ManagerNASA Headquarters
Mr. Gilbert A. BranchflowerProject ManagerNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Albert ArkingProject ScientistNASA Goddard Space Flight
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