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Tiros 1
Tiros satellite navitar.jpg
Tiros I prototype on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
Mission type Weather satellite
Operator NASA[1]
COSPAR ID 1960-002B
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type TIROS
Manufacturer RCA Astro
Launch mass 122.5 kilograms (270 lb)[2]
Start of mission
Launch date 1 April 1960, 11:40:09 (1960-04-01UTC11:40:09Z) UTC[3]
Rocket Thor DM-18 Able II
Launch site Cape Canaveral LC-17A
End of mission
Last contact 15 June 1960 (1960-06-16)
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime LEO
Semi-major axis 7,026.96 kilometers (4,366.35 mi)[4]
Eccentricity 0.0024623
Perigee 631 kilometers (392 mi)
Apogee 665 kilometers (413 mi)
Inclination 48.3797°
Period 98.76 minutes
RAAN 264.3671 degrees
Argument of perigee 226.1327 degrees
Mean anomaly 133.7550 degrees
Mean motion 14.74045109
Epoch 22 April 2016, 21:05:55 UTC

TIROS I (or TIROS-1) was the first successful low-Earth orbital weather satellite, and the first of a series of Television Infrared Observation Satellites.


Instruments and equipment of the TIROS I.

The TIROS-1 spacecraft was launched by NASA and partners at 6:40 AM EST[5] on April 1, 1960, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in the United States. Mission partners were NASA, the U.S. Army Signal Research and Development Laboratory, RCA, the U.S. Weather Bureau, and the U.S. Naval Photographic Interpretation Center.[1]


The TIROS Program (Television Infrared Observation Satellite) was NASA's first experimental step to determine if satellites could be useful in the study of the Earth. At that time, the effectiveness of satellite observations was still unproven. Since satellites were a new technology, the TIROS Program also tested various design issues for spacecraft: instruments, data and operational parameters. The goal was to improve satellite applications for Earth-bound decisions, such as "should we evacuate the coast because of the hurricane?".[1]

The TIROS Program's first priority was the development of a meteorological satellite information system. Weather forecasting was deemed the most promising application of space-based observations.[1]

TIROS proved extremely successful, providing the first accurate weather forecasts based on data gathered from space. TIROS began continuous coverage of the Earth's weather in 1962, and was used by meteorologists worldwide. The program's success with many instrument types and orbital configurations lead to the development of more sophisticated meteorological observation satellites.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "TIROS". NASA Science. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "TIROS 1". National Space Science Data Center. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  3. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "TIROS 1 Satellite details 1960-002B NORAD 29". N2YO. 7 December 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "U.S. Launches Camera Weather Satellite". The Fresno Bee. AP and UPI. April 1, 1960. pp. 1a, 4a. 

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