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TIROS II Spac0116-repair.jpg
TIROS-2 before launch
Mission type Weather satellite
Operator NASA[1]
SATCAT no. 63
Mission duration 376 days
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type TIROS
Manufacturer RCA Astro
Launch mass 127 kilograms (280 lb)[2]
Start of mission
Launch date 23 November 1960, 11:13:03 (1960-11-23UTC11:13:03Z) UTC[3]
Rocket Thor DM-19 Delta
Launch site Cape Canaveral LC-17A
End of mission
Last contact 4 December 1961 (1961-12-05)
Decay date May 2014
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Semi-major axis 6,755.43 kilometers (4,197.63 mi)
Eccentricity 0.0014596
Perigee 374 kilometers (232 mi)
Apogee 394 kilometers (245 mi)
Inclination 48.51 degrees
Period 92.09 minutes
Epoch 8 December 2013, 11:58:18 UTC[4]
Widefield Radiometer
Scanning Radiometer
Television Camera System

TIROS 2 (or TIROS-B) was a spin-stabilized meteorological satellite. It was the second in a series of Television Infrared Observation Satellite. It re-entered in May 2014.[5]


The launch of TIROS-2

TIROS 2 was launched on 23 November 1960 at 11:13:03 UTC, by a Thor-Delta rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The spacecraft functioned nominally until 22 January 1961. The satellite orbited the Earth once every 98 minutes, at an inclination of 48.5°. Its perigee was 609 kilometers (329 nmi) and apogee was 742 kilometers (401 nmi).

The satellite maintained a spin rate of 8–12 rpm by the use of five diametrically opposed pairs of small, solid-fuel thrusters. The spin axis could be oriented to within 1–2° accuracy by the use of a magnetic attitude control device, consisting of 250 cores of wire wound around the outer surface of the spacecraft. The interaction between the induced magnetic field in the spacecraft and the earth's magnetic field provided the necessary torque for attitude control. The spacecraft functioned nominally until 22 January 1961.

TIROS 2 was powered by 9,260 1-by-2-cm silicon solar cells. It had two independent television camera subsystems for taking pictures of cloud cover, plus a five-channel medium-resolution scanning radiometer and a two channel non-scanning low resolution radiometer for measuring radiation from the earth and its atmosphere.


TIROS 2 added two infrared radiometers to TIROS 1 instruments, which allowed more analysis of frontal zones.[6]


  1. ^ "TIROS". NASA Science. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "TIROS 2". National Space Science Data Center. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  3. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "TIROS 2 Satellite details 1960-016A NORAD 63". N2YO. 8 December 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  5. ^ TIROS 2
  6. ^ Hawkins, R. S. (1964-10-01). "Analysis and Interpretation of TIROS II Infrared Radiation Measurements". Journal of Applied Meteorology. 3 (5): 564–572. doi:10.1175/1520-0450(1964)0032.0.CO;2. ISSN 0021-8952.