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Nimbus 3

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Status: Completed
Mission Category: Historical Missions
Launch Date: April 14, 1969
Launch Location: Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA

Nimbus 3, the third in a series of second-generation meteorological research-and-development satellites, was designed to serve as a stabilized, earth-oriented platform for the testing of advanced meteorological sensor systems and the collecting of meteorological data. The polar-orbiting spacecraft consisted of three major elements: (1) a sensory ring, (2) solar paddles, and (3) the control system housing. The solar paddles and the control system housing were connected to the sensory ring by a truss structure, giving the satellite the appearance of an ocean buoy.

Key Nimbus 3 Facts

Mission/Portal Page: http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/masterCatalog.do?sc=1969-037A
Launch Vehicle: Thor-Agena
Instruments: HRIR (High-Resolution Infrared Radiometer)
IDCS (Image Dissector Camera System), IRIS (Infrared Interferometer Spectrometer), IRLS (Interrogation, Recording and Location System), MRIR (Medium-Resolution Infrared Radiometer)
MUSE (Monitor of Ultraviolet Solar Energy)
RTG (Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator)
SIRS (Satellite Infrared Spectrometer)
Project Scientist(s): William P. Nordberg

Relevant Science Focus Areas:

  • Weather

Relevant Science Questions:

  • How is the global Earth system changing?

Science Goals:

  • The project objectives were to provide improved photographs of local cloud conditions by an automatic picture transmission (APT) system, and to evaluate an advanced vidicon camera system (AVCS) for daylight coverage and a high-resolution infrared radiometer system (HRIR) for night-time cloud-cover observation.

Related Applications:

  • Weather Prediction