Nimbus-6 was launched in June 1975 and was a research-and-development
satellite serving as a stabilized, earth-oriented platform for testing advanced
systems for sensing and collecting meteorological ... data on a global scale. The
polar-orbiting spacecraft consisted of three major structures: (1) a hollow
torus-shaped sensor mount, (2) solar paddles, and (3) a control housing unit
connected to the sensor mount by a tripod truss structure. Configured somewhat
like an ocean buoy, Nimbus-6 was nearly 3.7 m tall, 1.5 m in diameter at the
base, and about 3 m wide with solar paddles extended. The sensor mount that
formed the satellite base housed the electronics equipment and battery modules.
The lower surface of the torus provided mounting space for sensors and
antennas. A box-beam structure mounted within the center of the torus supported
the larger sensor experiments. Mounted on the control housing unit, which was
located on top of the spacecraft, were sun sensors, horizon scanners, and a
command antenna. The spacecraft spin axis was pointed at the earth. An advanced
attitude-control system permitted the spacecraft's orientation to be controlled
to within plus or minus 1 degree in all three axes (pitch, roll, and yaw).
The experiments selected for Nimbus-6 were the earth radiation budget (ERB),
electrically scanning microwave radiometer (ESMR), high-resolution infrared
radiation sounder (HIRS), limb radiance inversion radiometer (LRIR), pressure
modulated radiometer (PMR), scanning microwave spectrometer (SCAMS),
temperature-humidity infrared radiometer (THIR), tracking and data relay
experiment (T+DRE), and the tropical wind energy conversion and reference level
experiment (TWERLE). This complement of advanced sensors was capable of mapping
tropospheric temperature, water vapor abundance, and cloud water content;
providing vertical profiles of temperature, ozone, and water vapor;
transmitting real-time data to a geostationary spacecraft (ATS 6); and yielding
data on the earth's radiation budget.
Taken from the NSSDC System for Information Retrieval and Storage (SIRS). For
more information contact the NSSDC Coordinated Request and User Support Office,
301-286-6695 (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 933.4, Greenbelt, Maryland
Nimbus-6 User's Guide.