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60 Years Ago Today, the First Successful Weather Satellite Was Launched

April 1, 2020
First-ever satellite imagery from TIROS-1 satellite from April 1, 1960.

On April 1, 1960,10 years before NOAA was established, NASA launched the Television Infrared Observation Satellite (TIROS-1), which aimed to view weather patterns from space orbit for the first time in history.

"It really was a milestone in the history of weather observations," said Stephen Volz, Ph.D. , Assistant Administrator of NOAA's Satellite and Information Service. "If we look at what we do now from space, it's all based on what we learned and saw from our first glimpses from TIROS. We saw what was possible."

The image above is the first ever taken by TIROS-1. Although the satellite's lifespan was short-lived, lasting only 78 days, it sent back 19,389 usable images that proved the worth of weather satellites to the world and paved the way for today's modern weather-observing systems.

Read more about this ground-breaking satellite in our latest news article.


An artist's rendering of TIROS-1's orbit over Earth.
An artist's rendering of TIROS-1. Credit: NASA