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Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA)

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Status: Completed
Mission Category: Historical Missions
Launch Date: February 3, 1966
Launch Location: Cape Canaveral, FL

The Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA) satellite program was initiated as an extension of, and a compliment to, the Television Infrared Observation Satellite (TIROS) program. Like TIROS, the ESSA program’s primary objective was to provide cloud-cover photography to the American National Meteorological Center.

Over a period of almost 4 years, ESSA satellites transmitted thousands of images back to Earth, enabling ground stations to predict weather patterns, including hurricanes. Advances in technology allowed ESSA to more than double the amount of information gathered over the life of the program. When ESSA-6 was deactivated by NASA, its images were reaching more than 300 receiving stations around the world, in 45 countries.

ESSA imagery was of a much wider scope, and better resolution, than that of the TIROS 9 program. ESSA satellite design and missions were the result of a combined effort on the part of NASA, the ESSA, the U.S. Weather Bureau, and the National Meteorological Center. Its success prompted further exploration of using space-borne weather prediction and monitoring devices, like ATS and the NIMBUS series.

Key Environmental Science Services Administration Facts

Mission/Portal Page:
Instruments: AVCS (Advanced Vidicon Camera System)

Relevant Science Focus Areas:

  • Weather

Related Applications:

  • Weather Prediction