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The TIROS-N series was the third generation of NOAA's low earth orbit meteorological satellites. Later spacecraft wear called NOAA.

These satellites were built by RCA Astro based on the military DMSP-5D1 series of satellites. They were 3-axis stabilized satellites featuring an integrated upperstage system called ISS (Integrated Spacecraft System), which allowed the satellite to act as the second stage of the launch vehicle. The second stage is a solid fueled Star-37E rocket motor containing about 658 kg of propellant and is an integral part of the spacecraft. Its propellant burns to depletion and the motor assembly case, weighing 48 kg, is left in orbit with the spacecraft. Three-axis stabilization of the spacecraft during the second stage burn is provided by nitrogen and hydrazine thrusters. The satellite were 1.88 m in diameter and 3.71 m long.

Following instruments were carried on board:

  • AVHRR/1 (advanced very high resolution radiometer) for observing daytime and nighttime global cloud cover
  • TOVS (TIROS operational vertical sounder) suite, for obtaining temperature and water-vapor profiles through the earth's atmosphere. It consists of
    • HIRS/2 (High Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder Version 2)
    • SSU (Stratospheric Sounding Unit)
    • MSU (Microwave Sounding Unit)
  • SEM (Space environment monitor), which measured the proton and electron fluxes near the earth
  • DCS (data collection system) or DCPLS (data collection and platform location system), which processed and relayed to central data acquisition stations the various meteorological data received from free-floating balloons and ocean buoys distributed around the globe.

All satellites were launched on Atlas-F Star-37S-ISS rockets from Vandenberg AFB

TIROS N was launched on 13 October 1978.

NOAA 6 (NOAA A) was launched on 27 June 1979. In early 1984, only one to two NOAA 6 passes were taken per day due to priorities for NOAA 7 and 8 data. However, when NOAA 8 failed in late June 1984, NOAA 6 was returned to full operational status to continue to provide morning orbit operational data.

The launch of NOAA B on 29 May 1980 was not successfully, as the Atlas-F Star-37S-ISS failed to put the satellite into a usable orbit.

NOAA 7 (NOAA C) was orbited on 23 June 1981.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Meteorology
Operator: NOAA
Contractors: RCA Astro
Configuration: TIROS-N Bus
Propulsion: Star-37S / ISS
Power: Deployable solar array, batteries
Mass: 736 kg (on orbit)
Orbit: SSO
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
TIROS N 1978-096A 13.10.1978 Va SLC-3W Atlas-F Star-37S-ISS
NOAA 6 (NOAA A) 1979-057A 27.06.1979 Va SLC-3W Atlas-F Star-37S-ISS
NOAA B 1980-043A 29.05.1980 Va SLC-3W P Atlas-F Star-37S-ISS
NOAA 7 (NOAA C) 1981-059A 23.06.1981 Va SLC-3W Atlas-F Star-37S-ISS