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NOAA-12 (NOAA-D before launch) is a third-generation operational meteorological satellite for use in the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS). The satellite design provides an economical and stable sun-synchronous (morning equator-crossing) platform for advanced operational instruments to measure the earth's atmosphere, its surface and cloud cover, and the near-space environment. Primary sensors include an Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) for observing daytime and nighttime global radiances and temperatures and a TIROS Operational Vertical Sounder (TOVS) for obtaining temperature and water vapor profiles through the earth's atmosphere. Secondary experiments consist of a Space Environment Monitor (SEM), which measures the proton and electron fluxes near the earth, and an ARGOS Data Collection and Location System, which processes and relays to central data acquisition stations the various meteorological data received from free-floating balloons and ocean buoys distributed around the globe. The satellite is based upon the Block 5D spacecraft bus developed for the U.S. Air Force, and it is 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. NOAA 12 operations were closed as of April 2001.

Alternate Names

  • 21263
  • NOAA-D
  • NOAA12
  • noaa12

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1991-05-14
Launch Vehicle: Atlas E
Launch Site: Vandenberg AFB, United States
Mass: 588.9 kg

Funding Agencies

  • NOAA National Environmental Satellite Service (United States)
  • NASA-Office of Space Science 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. James R. GreavesProgram ManagerNASA
Mr. Gerald W. LonganeckerProject ManagerNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Albert ArkingProject ScientistNASA Goddard Space Flight
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