transmit, free of charge, to 122 countries, some of NOAA-12 Launched and Orbiting which rely solely on NOAA-12s data for forecasting. The NOAA-12 polar-orbiting meteorological satellite, The satellite, a Television Infrared Observation Satel- which will gather weather and environmental data to lite (TIROS) built by General Electric Astro Space Di- enhance local weather analysis and forecasting, began vision, carries five primary instruments to collect fore- successfully transmitting imagery on 16 May 1991, casting data. These instruments include an Advance making it the fourth NOAA-series satellite now orbiting Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) radiation and operational. detector to determine cloud cover and surface tem- The 3127-pound satellite, known as NOAA-D prior perature; a High Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder to operation, was sent into orbit by an Atlas rocket and Microwave Sounding Unit that together measure similar to those used in the manned space program. energy from the troposphere to construct a tempera- The launch took place at Vandenburg Air Force Base ture profile from the surface to an altitude of about 6 in California at 8:52 A.M. on 14 May 1991. The satellite miles; a Space Environment Monitor to measure the is now 450 miles above earth in a near
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Jul 1, 1991
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