The objectives of TIROS (Television Infrared Observation Satellite)
was to test experimental television techniques designed to develop
a worldwide meteorological satellite information system.
The ... spacecraft was 42 inches in diameter, 19 inches high and
weighed 270 pounds. The craft was made of aluminum alloy and
stainless steel which was then covered by 9200 solar cells. The
solar cells served to charge the on-board batteries. Three pairs
of solid-propellant spin rockets were mounted on the base plate.
Two television cameras were housed in the craft, one
low-resolution and one high-resolution. A magnetic tape recorder
for each camera was supplied for storing photographs while the
satellite was out of range of the ground station network.
The antennas consisted of four rods from the base plate to serve
as transmitters and one vertical rod from the center of the top
plate to serve as a receiver.
The craft was spin-stabilized and space-oriented (not
Earth-oriented). Therefore, the cameras were only operated while
they were pointing at the Earth when that portion of the Earth
was in sunlight.
The video systems relayed thousands of pictures containing
cloud-cover views of the Earth. Early photographs provided
information concerning the structure of large-scale cloud
For more information, link to
[Summary provided by NASA]