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ESSA 1.jpg
An ESSA satellite
Mission type Weather satellite
Operator ESSA/NASA[1]
COSPAR ID 1968-114A
SATCAT № 3615
Spacecraft properties
Manufacturer RCA Astro
Launch mass 297 kilograms (655 lb)[2]
Start of mission
Launch date 15 December 1968, 17:21:04 (1968-12-15UTC17:21:04Z) UTC[3]
Rocket Delta N
Launch site Vandenberg SLC-2E
End of mission
Disposal Decommissioned
Deactivated 12 March 1976 (1976-03-13)
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Semi-major axis 7,816.70 kilometers (4,857.07 mi)
Eccentricity 0.0031481
Perigee 1,421 kilometers (883 mi)
Apogee 1,470 kilometers (910 mi)
Inclination 101.31 degrees
Period 114.63 minutes
Epoch 7 December 2013, 13:01:30 UTC[4]

ESSA-8 was a weather satellite launched by NASA on December 15, 1968. It operated for 2,644 days until it was deactivated on March 12, 1976. ESSA-8 was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA.

ESSA-8 was an 18-sided polygon. It measured 110 centimetres (42 in) in diameter by 22 inches (56 cm) in height, with a mass of 130 kilograms (290 lb). It was made of aluminum alloy and stainless steel covered with 10,020 solar cells. The cells charged 63 nickel–cadmium batteries, which served as a power source. The satellite could take 8 to 10 pictures every 24 hours. Each photo covered a 5,200-square-kilometre (2,000 sq mi) area at a resolution of 3.2 kilometres (2 mi) per pixel.

ESSA-8's mission was to replace ESSA-6, and provide detailed cloud pattern photography to ground stations worldwide. Partners in the project included NASA, ESSA, RCA, the U.S. Weather Bureau, and the NMC.


  1. ^ "ESSA". NASA Science. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "ESSA 8". National Space Science Data Center. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  3. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "ESSA 8 (TOS-F) Satellite details 1968-114A NORAD 3615". N2YO. 7 December 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 

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