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Upon reading about the history of the TIROS satellite series and looking at some of the photographs taken by TIROS-1, I wonder what kind of orbit they were in. Clearly they were polar or at least with a high inclination, but were they sun-synchronous?

Where can I find such information?

TIROS-1 photograph
TIROS-1 photograph, 28 April 1960, 16:00 GMT

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Jonathan McDowell keeps a great launch record, as well as a satellite catalog. If you cannot find something there, you likely will not find it anywhere else online.

TIROS 1 appears to have been in a 690x754 km orbit at 48.4deg inclination (I think... Hard to read on mobile).

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  • $\begingroup$ I found the log, but I don't seem to find a key to the different columns. Would the last four columns be Period [minutes], Perigee [km], Apogee [km], Inclination [degrees]? LEO is Low Earth Orbit and LEO/S appears to be Sun-Synchronous and /R retrograde, but /I and /P? $\endgroup$
    – gerrit
    Aug 1 '13 at 14:43
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    $\begingroup$ Direct link to spacecraft catalogue, but I haven't found a key yet, nor an explanation of acronyms. $\endgroup$
    – gerrit
    Aug 1 '13 at 15:02
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    $\begingroup$ @gerrit Not sure about a key, but those acronyms are explained at the bottom of this page: planet4589.org/space/log/orbits.html $\endgroup$
    – Jeff Burka
    Aug 1 '13 at 19:29
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    $\begingroup$ And based on the geostationary orbit catalog key I think you're right; it's Orbital Period (minutes) Perigee (km) x Apogee (km) x Inclination (degrees) $\endgroup$
    – Jeff Burka
    Aug 1 '13 at 19:34
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    $\begingroup$ Is that maybe covered in this gigantic list? I think it's the name of the organization that designed or built each satellite? For instance, the most recent entry in the satellite log has CASC in that column, and this orgs list tells us that stands for "China Aerospace Sci/Tech Corp". $\endgroup$
    – Jeff Burka
    Aug 1 '13 at 19:52
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Space-Track.org is another great source for historical satellite orbit data. Free, but email registration is required.

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