BackForward Satellite Programme: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - 4th generation 

Programme details
Programme description
  • First three satellites of the 10-satellite NOAA 4th generation series of operational meteorological satellites in polar orbit.
  • Providing continuity to the ITOS series. Major improvements: more performing platform, many more instruments more performing, more frequent coverage (orbits with two ECT's).
  • USA programme: NOAA responsible of the overall programme and the operations, NASA responsible of the development of the space segment, specifically of the prototype (TIROS-N)
  • The satellites are actively stabilised over 3 axes.
  • The design lifetime is 3 years.
  • Two sunsynchronous orbits exploited at any time, around 7:30 and 14:30.
  • The replacement policy is based on launching satellites at roughly 2-year intervals, alternatively in the 7:30 or 14:30 orbits.
  • 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); and through the beacon (low-bit-rate data).
Programme lifetime 1978 - 1987
Associated satellites and instruments

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