BackForward Satellite Programme: NOAA 3rd generation / Improved TIROS Operational System 

Programme details
Programme description
  • Series of 6 operational meteorological satellites.
  • Providing continuity to the TOS/ESSA series. Major improvements: 3-axis stabilisation, use of IR and introduction of atmospheric sounding.
  • USA programme: NOAA, responsible of the overall programme and the operations, NASA responsible of the development of the space segment, specifically of the prototype (ITOS-1/TIROS-M)
  • The satellites are actively stabilised over 3 axes.
  • The design lifetime is 1.5 years.
  • The orbit is sunsynchronous around 14:30.
  • The replacement policy is based on launching satellites at roughly 1-year intervals.
  • See detailed description at
Data circulation
  • Selected global data stored onboard and downlinked to the CDA (Command and Data Acquisition station) at Fairbanks.
  • Real-time data broadcast in full resolution (HRPT) and selected frames (APT).
Programme lifetime 1970 - 1979
Associated satellites and instruments

Note: red tag => no longer operational , green tag => operational , blue tag => planned