|First TV Image of Earth from Space|
TIROS I (or TIROS-1, short for Television and InfraRed Observation Satellite) was the first successful low-Earth orbital weather satellite, and the first of a series of Television Infrared Observation Satellites. It was launched by NASA and partners at 6:40 AM EST on April 1, 1960, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in the United States. Moreover, the TIROS Program (Television Infrared Observation Satellite) was America's first experimental step to determine if satellites could be useful in the study of the Earth. And it proved to be useful. The launch of TIROS I marked the first day it became possible to observe the Earth's weather conditions on a regular basis, over most of the world from the vantage point of outer space.
The satellite designed to obtain cloud pictures was rocketed into space aboard a Thor-Able launch vehicle. The satellite was basically a cylinder with 18 flattened sides to mount 9,200 solar power cells to charge the on-board batteries. It was not very large; approximately 1m in diameter, 0.56m high including the projecting television camera lense, with a launch weight of 128.4kg (including fuel for three pairs of small solid rockets to control the satellite's spin over time mounted on the base plate).
TIROS-1's main sensors that provided the cloud pictures were two television cameras. In particular, TIROS was equipped with slow-scan cameras that take snapshots of the scene below, taken every ten seconds. One camera had a wide angle lense providing views that were approximately 1200km on a side (with the satellite looking straight down), the other narrow angle camera covered a view with about 129km on a side. When the satellite was within range of a ground station, the cameras could be commanded to take a picture every 10, or every 30 seconds. But each camera was also connected to a clock controlled tape recorder to record images when the satellite was beyond the range of a ground station. Each recorder could record up to 32 pictures for playback the next time the satellite was in range of one of the three Command and Data Acquisition stations (CDA).
|TIROS 1 Satellite|
At yovisto, you can learn more about current NASA programs for the exploration of space weather in a short NASA video about the 'Radiation Belt Storm Probes'.
References and Further Reading:
- April 1, 1960, TIROS I is launched, from NOAA Satellite and Information Services
- 'Only The Beginning' For Laboratory - Teams Now Monitoring Its Signals, April 7, 1960
- The TIROS Programm, from Camp Evans, Wall, NJ
- The First Image from Abroad - Earth Rising and Lunar Orbiter 1
- The Sputnik Shock
- A4 - The First Human Vessel To Touch Outer Space
- Shoemaker-Levy 9 hits Jupiter
- Yuri Gagarin - The First Man in Space
- The Eagle has Landed - The First Man on the Moon
- Apollo 17 - The Last Men on the Moon (so far)