(Last updated May 12, 2002)
Many images on this site were taken from specialized weather observing satellites.
April 1, 2000 was the 40th anniversary of the first weather satellite, and this page looks
at the satellite launches of then and now.
The image on the left (364K JPG) shows
the launch of the very first weather satellite, the Television and
InfraRed Observation Satellite, TIROS I on April 1, 1960.
The satellite, which was carried into a low-altitude orbit (a few hundred miles up) on
a Thor-Able booster, weighed 283 lb and carried two light-weight cameras. TIROS I lasted
77 days and paved the way for a long and distinguished line of successors.
The image on the right (62K JPG) shows the
May 4, 2000 launch of the latest Geostationary Operational Environmental
Satellite, GOES-L. I was fortunate enough to see this night-time launch on an Atlas 2
booster, and from four miles away it was quite spectacular. (This picture was taken from a
place where no one should be during a launch!) In contrast to TIROS I, GOES-L weighed 4,888 lb
at launch, was placed in an orbit roughly 22,300 miles above the Earth, and carried much more
sophisticated imagers and sounders. GOES-L successfully reached orbit and was re-named GOES-11. The
satellite is currently being used as an on-orbit spare waiting for the eventual failure of either
the GOES-8 or GOES-10 satellites.
These images are courtesy of the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and
the NASA Kennedy Spaceflight
Center Multimedia Gallery. More information about TIROS I can be found at
this NOAA 40th anniversary page
with other information (including the
first ever weather satellite image
[161K GIF]) is found at the National Climatic Data Center.
Additional information on GOES-11 (including its
first image [882K GIF])
can be found at the NASA GOES Project and the
NOAA Office of Satellite Operations.
Finally, information on present, future, and some past space launches can be found at Space.com and Spaceflightnow.com.
Interesting Image Page #10 - The May 3, 1999 Oklahoma City Tornado
Interesting Image Page #12 - A Matter of Hurricane Size
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