Encyclopedia Astronautica
TOS


American earth weather satellite. 7 launches, 1966.10.02 (ESSA 3) to 1969.02.26 (ESSA 9). TOS spacecraft marked the first operational system of US polar-orbiting meteorological satellites.

TOS was a follow-on to the TIROS (Television Infrared Observation Satellite) series, and was itself followed by the ITOS (Improved TIROS) series, and later the NOAA series. TIROS spacecraft were developed by GSFC and managed by ESSA (Environmental Science Services Administration). The objective was to establish a global weather satellite system. The TOS spacecraft are also referred to as ESSA spacecraft. Spacecraft: Body mounted solar cells. Payload: TOS/ESSA spacecraft carried television cameras, APT (Automatic Picture Transmission) systems, and AVCS (Advanced Vidicon Camera System) instruments.

AKA: TIROS Operational System.
Gross mass: 140 kg (300 lb).
Height: 0.56 m (1.83 ft).
First Launch: 1966.10.02.
Last Launch: 1969.02.26.
Number: 7 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Delta The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Development began in 1955 and it continued in service in the 21st Century despite numerous candidate replacements. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Delta American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Delta began as Thor, a crash December 1955 program to produce an intermediate range ballistic missile using existing components, which flew thirteen months after go-ahead. Fifteen months after that, a space launch version flew, using an existing upper stage. The addition of solid rocket boosters allowed the Thor core and Able/Delta upper stages to be stretched. Costs were kept down by using first and second-stage rocket engines surplus to the Apollo program in the 1970's. Continuous introduction of new 'existing' technology over the years resulted in an incredible evolution - the payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit increasing from 68 kg in 1962 to 3810 kg by 2002. Delta survived innumerable attempts to kill the program and replace it with 'more rationale' alternatives. By 2008 nearly 1,000 boosters had flown over a fifty-year career, and cancellation was again announced. More...
  • Delta E American orbital launch vehicle. Thor augmented with 3 x Castor 2 motors with Delta E and Altair 2 upper stage. More...
  • Delta E1 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 3 x Castor + 1 x Thor DSV-2C + 1 x Delta E + 1 x FW4D More...
  • Delta N American orbital launch vehicle. Long Tank Thor augmented with 3 Castor 2 boosters and Delta E upper stage. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...
  • ESSA American agency overseeing development of spacecraft. Environmental Science Services Administration, USA. More...
  • NOAA American agency overseeing development of spacecraft. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA. More...
  • RCA American manufacturer of spacecraft. RCA, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • Tiros TIROS spacecraft were the beginning of a long series of polar-orbiting meteorological satellites. TIROS was followed by the TOS (TIROS Operational System) series, and then the ITOS (Improved TIROS) series, and later the NOAA series. TIROS spacecraft were developed by GSFC and managed by ESSA (Environmental Science Services Administration). The objective was to establish a global weather satellite system. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Launch Log, October 1998. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC2E Delta launch complex. Originally a Thor 75 SMS launch pad. Upgraded to a space launch complex in 1966. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC17B Delta launch complex. Part of a dual launch pad complex built for the Thor ballistic missile program in 1956. Upgraded over the decades for use with Thor, Delta, Delta II, and Delta III launch vehicles, it remained in use for over half a century. More...

TOS Chronology


1966 October 2 - . 10:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta E. LV Configuration: Thor Delta E 463/D41.
  • ESSA 3 - . Payload: TOS A. Mass: 145 kg (319 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: ESSA. Program: Tiros. Class: Earth. Type: Weather satellite. Spacecraft: TOS. USAF Sat Cat: 2435 . COSPAR: 1966-087A. Apogee: 1,486 km (923 mi). Perigee: 1,387 km (861 mi). Inclination: 100.9000 deg. Period: 114.60 min. Summary: Environmental Survey Satellite 3; replace ESSA 1. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C)..

1967 January 26 - . 17:31 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta E. LV Configuration: Thor Delta E 472/D45.
  • ESSA 4 - . Payload: TOS B. Mass: 132 kg (291 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: ESSA. Program: Tiros. Class: Earth. Type: Weather satellite. Spacecraft: TOS. USAF Sat Cat: 2657 . COSPAR: 1967-006A. Apogee: 1,440 km (890 mi). Perigee: 1,326 km (823 mi). Inclination: 102.0000 deg. Period: 113.40 min. Summary: Replaced ESSA 2. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C)..

1967 April 20 - . 11:21 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta E. LV Configuration: Thor Delta E 484/D48.
  • ESSA 5 - . Payload: TOS C. Mass: 145 kg (319 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: ESSA. Program: Tiros. Class: Earth. Type: Weather satellite. Spacecraft: TOS. USAF Sat Cat: 2757 . COSPAR: 1967-036A. Apogee: 1,422 km (883 mi). Perigee: 1,355 km (841 mi). Inclination: 102.0000 deg. Period: 113.50 min. Summary: Replaced ESSA 3. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C)..

1967 November 10 - . 17:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta E1. LV Configuration: Thor Delta E1 480/D54.
  • ESSA 6 - . Payload: TOS D. Mass: 132 kg (291 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: ESSA. Program: Tiros. Class: Earth. Type: Weather satellite. Spacecraft: TOS. USAF Sat Cat: 3035 . COSPAR: 1967-114A. Apogee: 1,485 km (922 mi). Perigee: 1,409 km (875 mi). Inclination: 102.1000 deg. Period: 114.80 min. Summary: Returned cloud cover images. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C)..

1968 August 16 - . 11:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta N. LV Configuration: Thor Delta N 528/D58.
  • ESSA 7 - . Payload: TOS E. Mass: 145 kg (319 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: ESSA. Program: Tiros. Class: Earth. Type: Weather satellite. Spacecraft: TOS. USAF Sat Cat: 3345 . COSPAR: 1968-069A. Apogee: 1,473 km (915 mi). Perigee: 1,431 km (889 mi). Inclination: 101.9000 deg. Period: 114.90 min. Summary: Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C)..

1968 December 15 - . 17:21 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta N. LV Configuration: Thor Delta N 532/D62.
  • ESSA 8 - . Payload: TOS F. Mass: 132 kg (291 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: ESSA. Program: Tiros. Class: Earth. Type: Weather satellite. Spacecraft: TOS. USAF Sat Cat: 3615 . COSPAR: 1968-114A. Apogee: 1,464 km (909 mi). Perigee: 1,414 km (878 mi). Inclination: 102.0000 deg. Period: 114.60 min. Summary: Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C)..

1969 February 26 - . 07:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta E1. LV Configuration: Thor Delta E1 483/D67.
  • ESSA 9 - . Payload: TOS G. Mass: 145 kg (319 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: ESSA. Program: Tiros. Class: Earth. Type: Weather satellite. Spacecraft: TOS. USAF Sat Cat: 3764 . COSPAR: 1969-016A. Apogee: 1,505 km (935 mi). Perigee: 1,425 km (885 mi). Inclination: 101.8000 deg. Period: 115.20 min. Summary: Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C)..

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