Earth Observation Mission News
Celebrating the world’s first meteorological satellite: TIROS-1
01 April 2016
On 4 October, 1957, the former Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to be successfully placed in orbit around Earth. The feat ushered in the Space Age and sparked a space race between the United States and its Cold War rival.
This scramble for spaceflight superiority led to the establishment of the United States' early space programs and the launch of Explorer-1 in 1958, the first operational U.S. satellite.
The United States' earliest attempts to see Earth's weather from space began in the 1950s. Several experimental programs were developed and, by 1959, the first successful metrological experiment made its way to space onboard the Explorer VII satellite.
Then, 56 years ago on 1 April 1960, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched the Television Infra-Red Observation Satellite (TIROS-1), the world's first successful weather satellite. Weighing approximately 270 pounds and carrying two TV cameras and two video recorders, the satellite provided weather forecasters their first ever view of cloud formations as they developed around the globe.
Image credit: NASA - An artist rendering of the instruments aboard the TIROS-1 satellite.