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Question: What actually happened in the TIROS control center at Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland? Did they receive and print out satellite images in this room? If so, how? Did they send signals or otherwise decide on commands to "control" the TIROS spacecraft? If so, how?

From Launch of TIROS 1, World's 1st Weather Satellite — This Week in Goddard History: March 31–April 6

TIROS 1 (Television and InfraRed Observation Satellite), the first weather satellite, was designed to test the feasibility of obtaining and using TV cloudcover pictures from satellites.

The TIROS Program (Television Infrared Observation Satellite) was NASA's first experimental step to determine if satellites could be useful in the study of the Earth. At that time, the effectiveness of satellite observations was still unproven. Since satellites were a new technology, the TIROS Program also tested various design issues for spacecraft: instruments, data and operational parameters. The goal was to improve satellite applications for Earth-bound decisions, such as "should we evacuate the coast because of the hurricane?".

The TIROS Program's first priority was the development of a meteorological satellite information system. Weather forecasting was deemed the most promising application of space-based observations.

TIROS proved extremely successful, providing the first accurate weather forecasts based on data gathered from space. TIROS began continuous coverage of the Earth's weather in 1962, and was used by meteorologists worldwide. The program's success with many instrument types and orbital configurations lead to the development of more sophisticated meteorological observation satellites.


TIROS Control: TIROS Technical Control Center at the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland. Joe Parisi (left), Leo Cleary (right) and Tom Stewart review information received from NASA's TIROS Weather Satellite. (File photo, 1964) Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

TIROS Technical Control Center at the Goddard Space Flight Center

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The TIROS Technical Control Center (TTCC) performed the usual spacecraft control center functions: monitoring and control of its assigned spacecraft.

Monitoring:

TTCC was assigned the primary responsibility for processing telemetry data and evaluating attitude and spacecraft status.....Computer processing of telemetry data at TTCC also provides a more rapid evaluation of attitude and spacecraft status.

The evolution of the TIROS meteorological satellite operational system

Control:

According to the operating procedure established jointly by NASA and the Weather Bureau, responsibility for deciding which portions of an up-coming Tiros orbit should be photographed was largely that of the Bureau, or more specifically, its National Weather Satellite Center (NWSC). Having decided which portions held the greatest meteorological interest, NWSC would request NASA’s Tiros Technical Control Center (TTCC) at Goddard Space Flight Center to program the satellite’s picture-taking accordingly. The TTCC would then compute the necessary commands and transmit them to the CDA stations for relay to the satellite.

Acronymology:

  • CDA: Command and Data Acquisition

Establishing an operational weather satellite system

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  • $\begingroup$ I see, this is actually quite a lot to control considering this was the 1960's and while they could use computers to calculate somethings, there wasn't really any automation. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jul 27 '20 at 14:01

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