TIROS I demonstrated the feasibility of obtaining and utilizing cloud cover pictures from satellites; however, the system had limitations as an operational meteorological tool. Subsequent TIROS satellites and associated launch vehicle and ground systems improved the coverage both in area and frequency, the picture content, data acquisition and processing procedures. Infrared observations and local readout were introduced. The application and dissemination of data were expanded. Research with the data has produced significant results. The developments culminated in the initiation of an operational system using the design of TIROS IX.

The evolution of the operational system is summarized in terms of coverage, orbit, launch vehicle, spacecraft control, solar illumination, camera systems, acquisition facilities, data processing, application of data and research contributions.

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1 Presented at the Conference of the XVII Astronautical Congress, Madrid, Spain, October 1966.