SP-4012 NASA HISTORICAL DATA BOOK: VOLUME III
PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS 1969-1978

 

CHAPTER FOUR

SPACE APPLICATIONS

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

[235] Within the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the organizational relationship between space applications - the "practical exploitation of space to benefit mankind" - and space science has changed over the years to suit the times. During most of the civilian space agency's first decade, the two programs were joined under one roof: the Office of Space Science and Applications (OSSA).* Supporters of ambitious science and applications projects waited together, making do with less money, support, and public attention while their manned spaceflight counterparts accomplished the national business, at hand: landing a man on the moon and returning him safely by the end of the 1960s- an ambitious, expensive goal pressed on NASA in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. Once manned lunar operations became almost routine, the nation and NASA settled down to find less spectacular, less expensive, but more obviously beneficial uses for its new space-age tools. The management of space science and space applications during NASA's second decade was divided in recognition of "the increasing importance of applications satellite programs in the space effort."1

Although President Richard M. Nixon had described his plans for the space program of the 1970s as a program tempered by equal consideration for exploration, scientific knowledge, and practical applications, it soon became obvious that a budget-conscious Congress favored applications projects over "pure science" or exploration for exploration's sake. According to Dr. John E. Naugle, Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications (1967-1971), the U.S. had acquired during the 1960s "a basic lead in space exploration, scientific knowledge, and technology." During the next decade, we could "apply this experience toward the study and solution of looming earthly problems.2 Indeed, Nixon's Space Task Group, in advising the president on the future of the national space program, had [236] come to that same conclusion in 1969:** "We have found increasing interest in the exploitation of our demonstrated space expertise and technology for the direct benefit of mankind in such areas as earth resources, communications, navigation, national security, science and technology, and international participation. We have concluded that the space program for the future must include increased emphasis upon space applications."3 Two presidents and nine years later, the same policy was reiterated by the White House. President Jimmy Carter hoped the 1980s would "reflect a balanced strategy of applications, science and technology development," but a strong applications program was first on the list. Space applications "will bring important benefits to our understanding of earth resources, climate, weather, pollution and agriculture."4 NASA's second decade opened and closed with similar calls for action on the part of the space applications community.

 

The First Decade Reviewed

Even before enthusiasm and large budgets for the space program started to wane in the face of urban social programs and an escalating military involvement in Southeast Asia, NASA managers were conscious of the need to balance basic research, which hopefully would answer fundamental questions about the nature of matter and the universe and which might have some unforeseen practical benefit, with applied research, which was knowingly geared toward some application. Two early applications projects that contributed to the common good in a demonstrative way were communications and meteorology. NASA's satellite research led to a revolution in these two service fields.

Satellites offered a simultaneous line-of-sight connection between two points that are shielded from one another by the curvature of the earth. When equipped with receiving, amplifying, and transmitting instruments and placed in precise orbits, satellites were a promising purveyor of long-distance voice, television, and data transmissions. The results of NASA's early passive and active communications experiments (Echo, Relay, and Syncom) were used by COMSAT, the operational arm of the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (INTELSAT), which Congress authorized in 1962 to exploit the commercial possibilities of the communications satellite. NASA's role in the commercial system was limited to launching the satellites (Telstars and INTELSATs) on a reimbursable basis. The agency's primary responsibility was research and development - designing and testing improved instruments, larger satellite platforms, more sophisticated guidance and control mechanism, and increased-capacity launch vehicles.

The satellite and small sounding rockets were a great boon to meteorology. High above earth on an orbiting platform, television cameras recorded changing cloud cover patterns. Sensors carried into the upper atmosphere on small rockets returned critical data on air temperature and pressure and wind direction and speed. [237] Tiros, NASA's meteorology research and development project, was highly successful. An operational system of meteorology satellites was initiated in 1966, and again NASA surrendered control. The Weather Bureau (later known as the Environmental Sciences Services Administration, or ESSA) oversaw the use of the Tiros Operational System (TOS), with NASA providing launch services. NASA continued its research and development experiments with a second-generation meteorology satellite family, Nimbus.

NASA's third major applications flight program initiated during the 1960s was the Applications Technology Satellite (ATS). This series of spacecraft was designed to carry a variety of experiments - communications, meteorology, and scientific - and to investigate new techniques for spacecraft control. The ATS program, along with other research projects in the fields of communications and navigation, meteorology, geodesy, and remote sensing, was carried over into the agency's next 10 years.

 

Space Applications, 1969-1978

The "earthly problems" Naugle alluded to in 1970 were "derivatives of the continuing growth of the world's population - imposing ever-growing demands for the basics of life ... as well as for such social needs of civilization as improved means of transportation and communications."5 Pollution and its impact on the mechanics of the environment was seen as a particularly noxious effect of expanding population and industrialization. If Congress would appropriate the funds, NASA could be particularly well armed to investigate, if not actually to combat, some of these global problems. The synoptic view of earth provided by satellites would help investigators understand, develop, and protect natural and cultural resources and monitor the state of the environment.

This serious task was added to NASA's applications program, in addition to its traditional role of support for advanced communications and meteorology research. Geodetic research was a fourth responsibility. The Office of Applications (OA) divided these areas of responsibility into four programs: weather, climate, and environmental quality; communications; earth resources survey; and earth and ocean dynamics.***

NASA's Tiros family of meteorology satellites continued to thrive during the 1970s, although sometimes known by other names. ESSA 9 was the last of the first-generation TOS spacecraft. Tiros M was a research and development satellite that paved the way for NOAAs 1 through 5, the improved TOS system. Tiros N, representing the third generation, was orbitted in 1978, bringing to eight the number of Tiros satellites launched in 1969-1978. A second spacecraft design, the Synchronous Meteorology Satellite (SMS), which was capable of daytime and nighttime observations, was first tested in 1974. SMS 1 and 2 were joined by operational satellites GOES 1 through 3. As it had in the 1960s, NASA shared responsibility for the National Meteorological Satellite System with ESSA (later known as the [238] National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA). Besides daily weather information, NASA satellites collected data of interest to scientists studying the mechanics of storm systems and global weather and climate patterns. The agency also was assigned an official role in the international Global Atmospheric Research Program. Additionally, NASA launched three foreign meteorology satellites as part of its commitment to international cooperation. The sensors carried aloft by five Nimbus spacecraft provided specialists with vertical soundings of the atmosphere, a thermal mapping capability, and data on air pollution. This research satellite program was concluded in 1978.

During the 1970s, NASA expanded its communications satellite launching service to include foreign countries (17 launches), the amateur ham radio community (4), and the U.S. military (11). NASA launch vehicles were used 20 times for INTELSAT payloads and 10 times for other U.S. commercial ventures. Research and development activities were limited to the joint U.S.-Canadian Communications Technology Satellites (CTS) and experiments flown on ATS spacecraft. With ATS 6, which was equipped with a 9-meter parabolic antenna, NASA conducted a popular experimental program of educational television and medical support communications to remote, sparsely populated regions. Communications network operations was clearly a commercial affair, but the space agency continued to provide the high-risk applied research that led to improvements of operational systems and the introduction of new hardware.

The earth resources survey program was one of NASA's most publicized new programs of the post-Apollo years. Sensors that could detect and measure the electromagnetic radiation emanating from objects on earth were used to prepare images useful to specialists in the fields of agriculture, forestry, geology, hydrology, and urban planning. Landsat satellites increased man's capabilities for detecting and monitoring living and nonliving resources, acquiring information for food, fiber, and water resources management, mineral and petroleum exploration, and land use classification and assessment. NASA and the Department of Interior worked together to ensure that Landsat data were used by federal, state, and local government agencies and by private concerns.

Satellites can also be used to study the dynamics of continental land masses and the oceans. The Office of Applications sponsored three Right projects that contributed to our understanding of the motion of earth's tectonic plates and oceanographic phenomena. Increasingly accurate global maps and sea charts and earthquake prediction data were the most visible products of Seasat, Lageos, and GEOS. Moreover, these projects pointed to the need for an operational monitoring system of earth's changing surface.

 

Managing the Space Applications Program at NASA

In October 1967, John E. Naugle, a physicist by training, became associate administrator for space science and applications at NASA Headquarters, replacing Homer E. Newell, Jr., who had led the agency's space science program from its earliest days. Naugle continued to head OSSA until it was divided into two offices in December 1971. One of his deputies, Leonard Jaffee, was responsible for space applications. During the early years of the second decade, space applications programs [239] were divided between two working divisions: earth observations, led by John M. DeNoyer, which included meteorology (Morris Tepper, director) and earth resources survey projects; and communications, led by Richard B. Marsten.

Charles W. Mathews became the first associate administrator for applications. Mathews, who had been a member of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), one of NASA's predecessor agencies, had been responsible for the Gemini Program at the Manned Spacecraft Center and for Skylab at Headquarters before becoming deputy associate administrator for manned spaceflight. Jaffee stayed on as deputy. The working directorates were expanded to include communications; earth observations, assumed by William E. Stoney in 1973; flight programs, directed by Pitt G. Thome; and special programs, which embraced the geodetic satellite projects, among others, and was led by Francis L. Williams. This arrangement was basically static through the next two associate administrators. Bradford Johnston, a marketing "pert, was appointed to the position by Administrator James Fletcher in June 1976. Anthony J. Calio, a nuclear physicist associated with NASA since the early 1960s, took the reins in October 1977.

Calio was in charge of the program when the name was changed in November 1977. Reemphazing the program's broad objective of looking earthward from space, the agency renamed OA the Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications (OSTA). Samuel W. Keller became Calio's deputy in May 1978, joining Chief Scientist S. Ichtiaque and Chief Engineer William P. Raney. Program activities were divided among three areas: environmental observations, directed by Lawrence R. Greenwood; resource observations, under Thome; and communications, led by Donald K. Dement. In addition, there were directors for materials processing, an interest of OA's since April 1977 (John R. Carruthers, director), applications system, and technology transfer.****

Flight project activity was managed on two levels, from Headquarters and from the NASA center to which it was assigned. The Headquarters directors and the center managers divided many tasks. In Washington, projects were explained, budgeted, and defended in-house, before Congress and the Office of Management and Budget. At the field centers, designs were generated and concepts proved, contracts let and monitored, spacecraft and experiment hardware tested, and finally results analyzed. OSSA/OA/OSTA worked with all NASA's field centers to bring to fruition its many flight projects, but it depended primarily on the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Maryland. Meteorology and the bulk of the communications projects, as well as ATS and Landsat were assigned to GSFC. The Johnson Space Center (JSC, formerly the Manned Spacecraft Center) managed the aircraft earth resources survey program, with the assistance of Ames Research Center. Lageos was shared by the Marshall Space Flight Center and GSFC. Wallops Flight Center managed GEOS and was the site of many sounding rocket experiments. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory oversaw Seasat. The joint CTS communications satellite was the concern of the Langley Research Center and Goddard. Launches took place at the Kennedy Space Center (Eastern Test Range) and Vandenberg Air Force Base (Western Test Range); launch vehicles were managed by the Lewis Research Center, Goddard, and Marshall.

 

 

[244] BUDGET

For a general introduction to the NASA budget process and to the budget tables in this volume, consult chapter 1. Other data that may assist the researcher interested in the cost of NASA's space applications program include budget tables in chapter 1 for the various launch vehicles used by the Office of Space Applications. Chapter 6 provides budget data on the tracking network that supported the agency's applications flight projects. For a more detailed breakdown of the flight project budgets, see the NASA annual budget estimates referred to in chapter 1. Review the bottom notes of all tables carefully before making conclusions about totals for any particular project or year.

 

Money for Space Applications

NASA's total budget decreased steadily from 1966 to 1973, when it took a slight increase, only to fall the next year to the lowest sum the space agency had been allocated since 1962.***** Money for space applications, however, increased over the previous year's budget every year but two during the agency's second decade. But even with the increased emphasis by Congress and the White House on practical space projects that would benefit mankind, space applications accounted for only a small wedge of the R&D pie. From 3.05 % in 1969, it grew steadily to reach 7.73% in 1978 (see table 4-3).

The following budget charts give the researcher data on the budgets for space applications projects and the various disciplines. Flight projects are broken down....

 

 

[245] ....further: spacecraft, experiments/sensors, operations. See tables 4-4 and 4-5 for summary information. Refer to chapter 1 for general information concerning what these figures mean and the sources used. Researchers who refer to the original NASA budget estimate volumes and summary chronologies will discover that the agency changed its space applications budget categories several times over the 10-year period. The charts presented in this volume are an attempt to combine the different approaches into one. Take special notice of the many bottom notes.

 

 

[266] CHARACTERISTICS

The rest of this chapter describes NASA's four major applications programs and the flight projects assigned to them.+ For each flight project, the researcher will find an introductory narrative, a chronology of events, and mission profile sheets.

 

Meteorology Program

During its second decade, NASA conducted advanced research and development activities in the field of meteorology and served as launch vehicle manager for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fleet of operational satellites. In addition, the space agency was an active participant in the Global Atmospheric Research Program, an international meteorological research effort. GARP and NASA's major meteorology flight projects, Tiros, SMS, and Nimbus, are described below.

Morris Tepper was NASA's director of meteorology from 1961 through 1977. From mid-1969, meteorology was part of the NASA Headquarters Earth Observations Program (changed to Environmental Observations Program in late 1977). Assisting Tepper was William G. Spreen, chief of meteorology and sounding rockets through 1971, when Norman L. Durocher took the post. Durocher, who had been manager of GARP since 1970, turned the research program over to Robert A. Schiffer, who was succeeded by T. H. R. O'Neil in 1974. Schiffer became chief of environmental quality. In the November 1977 agency-wide reorganization, meteorology was assigned to the atmospheric processes branch, Shelby G. Tilford, chief. Michael L. Garbacz was long-time manager of operational meteorology satellites. (For more information, see table 4-2.)

Tiros Family. NASA inherited the Tiros (Television Infrared Observation Satellite) concept from the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in 1958 when the space agency was created. Ten research and development launches of this successful weather satellite led to the first Tiros Operational System (TOS) mission (ESSA 1) in 1966. The Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA) was responsible for the operational system, while NASA provided a launching capability and advanced research on improved Tiros spacecraft. First-generation Tiros spacecraft carried two-camera advanced vidicon camera systems (AVCS), which took 6 or 12 images per orbit at 260-second intervals, which were stored on tape recorders for transmission to the National Environmental Satellite Center; or automatic picture transmission (APT) systems, which allowed the transmission of real-time cloud cover pictures to any APT ground receiver within audio range of the satellite (4 AVCS versions; 5 APT versions). NASA's second decade began with the last launch of the TOS series, ESSA 9, in February 1969.

[267] Tiros M was an operational prototype of an Improved Tiros Operational System (ITOS). This second-generation satellite was box-like, while the first Tiros satellites had been drum-shaped. It weighed 400 kilograms, twice as much as the early Tiros spacecraft; and it carried two AVCSs, two APTs, and two scanning radiometers. And NASA included increasingly sophisticated instruments on the NOAA 1-5 spacecraft which made up ITOS. NOAA 1, launched on December 11, 1970, was identical to its R&D predecessor, but NOAA 2 (October 15, 1972) was equipped with a very high-resolution radiometer (VHRR) that provided images from which the temperature of the cloud tops and the land areas below could be determined, a vertical temperature profile radiometer, and a scanning radiometer. To NOAA 3, 4, and 5 (November 6, 1973; November 15, 1974; and July 29, 1976) a solar proton monitor was added. A new attitude control system ensured that NOAA spacecraft would always face earth (the original Tiros was spin stabilized). Operating in sun-synchronous orbits, these spacecraft provided systematic cloud cover observation for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (formerly ESSA).

In October 1978, NASA launched another Tiros prototype, Tiros N. This newest member of the Tiros family again took a new configuration. It was pentagonal, weighing 1405 kilograms. Along with its new face, it was given a new job-longer-range forecasting, which would be accomplished by surroundings rather than by image-taking. For 29 months, meteorologists monitored Tiros PI's 7 instruments.

Tiros spacecraft were provided by RCA Astro-Electronics Division under contract to the Goddard Space Flight Center. RCA started an in-house weather satellite study in 1951 and worked for first the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, then ARPA, and finally NASA to design and fabricate the first Tiros satellite. Tiros N was based on an RCA-U.S. Air Force spacecraft design called Block 5D.

At Goddard, the Tiros project was managed in the projects directorate by William W. Jones (ESSA 9-NOAA 2), Jack Sargent (NOAA 3), Stanley Weiland (NOAA 4), and Gilbert A. Branchflower (NOAA 5-Tiros A). At NASA Headquarters, Michael L. Garbacz was long-time manager of the operational meteorology satellite program.

Delta launch vehicles of various configurations were used to launch all the second-decade Tiros satellites except Tiros N. This large spacecraft was orbited by an Atlas F vehicle.

 

 

[274] Synchronous Meteorological Satellite-GOES. The advantage of the Synchronous Meteorological Satellite (SMS) over the Tiros NOAA satellites was its ability to provide daytime and nighttime coverage from geostationary orbit. For the first time, the meteorologist had access to an entire hemisphere around the clock.

NASA funded and managed the SMS project, but when the concept was found satisfactory for an operational system, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration assumed responsibility for it. The NOAA satellites, identical to SMS 1 and 2, launched on May 17, 1974 and February 6, 1975, were named GOES, for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite. Three operational GOES satellites were put to use as part of the National Operational Meteorology Satellite System:++ GOES I on October 16, 1975, GOES 2 on June 16, 1977, and GOES 3 on June 16, 1978.

SMS-GOES, cylindrical and weighing 600 kilograms, had three distinct capabilities. (1) Images collected by the visible and infrared spin scan radiometer (VISSR) were of a high quality: daytime resolution down to 3.2 kilometers and nighttime infrared resolution of. 9 kilometers could be achieved (see fig. 4-1). (2) With its data collection system (DCS), the spacecraft could randomly query some 10 000 remote earth-based sensors located on such platforms as ships, buoys, and forest fire observation stations. Useful information on earthquakes, winds, rainfall, humidity, temperature, and water levels was thus obtained. (3) The space environment monitoring system was composed of three instruments: a magnetometer, x-ray sensor, and energetic particles sensor.

Satellite data were sent to NOAA's Command and Data Acquisition Station, Wallops Island, Virginia, where the signals were converted to a useable photographic form. This information was retransmitted to the NOAA Center, Suitland, Maryland. From Suitland, data were sent over high-quality telephone lines to five regional weather centers (Miami, San Francisco, Kansas City, Washington, and Honolulu). The regional centers forwarded information, including enlargements of weather photos, to all Weather Service Forecast Offices. Offices received updated photographs every 30 minutes.

An operational weather satellite in synchronous orbit had been an objective of the meteorological community since the first weather satellite was launched in the early 1960s, and ESSA assigned high priority to the establishment of an operational system of geostationary satellites in 1969. NASA first proposed SMS in its FY 1970 budget, but the project soon ran into schedule, money, and weight-gain problems. According to Deputy Administrator George M. Low, "the introduction of a number of advanced features at various points during the definition phase of the program established satisfactory technical approaches but resulted in an inadequate definition of the effort required."6 The first flight-ready SMS model was not delivered until the spring of 1973; the first launch followed one year later.

SMS-GOES spacecraft were built for the government by Philco-Ford Corporation under contract to GSFC. Part of the projects directorate, SMS-GOES was under the direction of Don V. Fordyce (SMS) and Robert H. Pickard (GOES). [275] Michael L. Garbacz was NASA Headquarters manager of the operational meteorology satellite program.

Delta model 2914 was used to launch these five satellites. All launches took place at the Eastern Test Range.

 

 

 


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Figure 4-1 - Video data are generated on SMS-GOES by a visible and infrared spin scan radiometer.

Figure 4-1 - Video data are generated on SMS-GOES by a visible and infrared spin scan radiometer. Its major parts include a telescope (Ritchey-Chretien version of the classical cassegrainian telescope), a radiometer (8 channels for visible scan operations in the 0. 55- to 0. 80-micron band and 2 for infrared, scan in the 10.5- to 12.6-micron band), an optical line step scanner, and an electronics module.

Source: NASA, Synchronous Meteorological Satellite, A Mission Operation Report, E-608-74-01, May 10, 1974.

 


Figure 4-2. Access to remote sensors and 24-hour observations gave meteorologists an opportunity to study weather systems, even short-duration tornadoes and thunderstorms.

Figure 4-2. Access to remote sensors and 24-hour observations gave meteorologists an opportunity to study weather systems, even short-duration tornadoes and thunderstorms.

Source: NASA, OSSA, "Summary of the Synchronous Meteorological Satellite Program," March 1967, p. 3.

 

 

Nimbus. The Nimbus program, approved in 1959 as NASA's second-generation meteorology satellite program, was operationally successfully concluded in 1978 with the launch of the last of seven polar-orbiting satellites. However, data from Nimbus 7 were still being received from the spacecrafts sophisticated instruments in the early 1980s. Nimbus was flown not as an operational satellite but as an advanced research satellite on which new sensing instruments and data-gathering techniques were tested. The Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA), however, did become a routine user of Nimbus data. Its coverage of conditions over oceans and other areas where few upper atmospheric measurements were made was very valuable to the agency.

Shaped like a butterfly with solar-panel wings, the configuration of Nimbus changed little from its first use in 1964. What did evolve was the payload. The first meteorology satellites provided scientists with cloud pictures from which air movement could be determined and infrared data that reflected the temperature variations of the earth's surface. Instruments carried in Nimbus 3 and 4 (launched April 14, 1969, and April 8, 1970) yielded vertical profiles of the temperatures in the atmosphere and information on the global distribution of ozone and water vapor. With each mission, these profiles were refined and extended. Nimbus 4 demonstrated the feasibility of determining wind velocity fields by accurately tracking balloons. Nimbus 5 (December 10, 1972) provided improved thermal maps of the earth. Environmental conditions such as sea ice cover and rainfall were monitored by Nimbus 6 (June 12, 1975). Nimbus 7 (October 24, 1978) also was called the "Air Pollution and Oceanographic Observing Satellite." In addition to mapping upper atmospheric characteristics, this last satellite of the series collected extensive data over the planet's oceans, extended scientists' solar and earth radiation data base, and monitored man-made and natural pollutants .7

An important Nimbus instrument for meteorologists was the temperature-humidity infrared radiometer (THIR), part of the payloads on Nimbus 4-7. THIR was a two-channel high-resolution scanning radiometer designed to perform two major functions: provide continuous day and night cloud top or surface temperatures, and provide information on the moisture content of the upper [280] troposphere and stratosphere and the location of jet streams and frontal systems. The THIR radiometer consisted of an optical scanner and an electronic module. In contrast to television, no images were formed within the radiometer; the THIR sensor merely transformed the received radiation into an electrical output (see fig. 4-3).

The random access measurement system (RAMS) on Nimbus 6 generated many well publicized international experiments. In the early 1960s, the Committee on Atmospheric Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences established a Panel on international Meteorological Cooperation to study the feasibility of a global observation experiment to measure the state and motion of the entire lower atmosphere. The most promising system to accomplish this was a polar-orbiting satellite that would transmit data gathered by constant-level balloons and fixed or drifting buoys while making radiometer measurements in the infrared and microwave regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The feasibility of locating and collecting data from balloons And floating platforms was proved by the interrogation, recording, and location system (IRLS) carried on Nimbus 3 and 4 and by the French satellite Eole.+++ The system developed for Nimbus 6 did not require the complex interrogation function; the platforms' would randomly transmit signals to the satellite.

NASA invited investigators from around the world to participate in a tropical wind, energy conversion, and reference level experiment (TWERLE), which would use constant-level balloons and ocean and ice buoys. A total of 393 TWERLE balloons was launched and tracked in 1975, which contained sensors for measuring atmospheric pressure, temperature, and altitude. In addition to TWERLE investigators, other parties using Nimbus 6s RAMS included balloonists, scientists and oil drillers interested in iceberg drift, marine biologists, sailors, and participants of an around-the-world antique automobile race.8

Nimbus was built for NASA by the General Electric Company under contract to the Goddard Space Flight Center. Harry Press served as project manager and William Nordberg as project scientist during Nimbus 3 and 4. Stanley Weiland and John S. Theon took over for Nimbus 5, with Jack Sargent becoming manager for Nimbus 6. Ronald K. Browning and William R. Bandeen oversaw the last Nimbus flight. Nimbus was managed as part of Goddard's flight directorate. At NASA Headquarters, Richard I. Haley, Burton B. Schardt (Nimbus 3-5), Harry Mannheimer (Nimbus 6), and Douglas R. Broome (Nimbus 7) had turns as program directors.

Thorad-Agena D vehicles launched Nimbus 3 and 4 from the Western Test Range. Delta 2910s were used for the last three missions.

 


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altitude of 11 112 kilometers, ground resolution was 7.67 km.

Figure 4-3. At an altitude of 11 112 kilometers, ground resolution was 7.67 km. The scan rate of 48 rpm provided contiguous coverage along the satellite's path. Due to the earth-scan geometry of THIR, as nadir angle increased, overlapping occurred between consecutive scans, reaching 350 percent overlap at the horizons and resulting in a loss of ground resolution in the direction of the satellite motion. This figure shows the relationship between nadir angle and ground resolution element size along the path of the satellite.

Source: GSFC, "The Nimbus 5 User's Guide," Nov. 1972, p. 20.

 

 

Other Meteorology Satellites. In addition to its own research and development satellites and the weather service's operational satellites, NASA launched three other metsats.

For the European Space Agency (ESA) in November 1977, NASA launched Meteosat 1, designed to investigate thermal characteristics and cloud imagery from geostationary orbit. For Japan, the U.S. space agency orbited GMS (Geostationary Meteorology Satellite), also called Himawari, in July 1977. This satellite collected cloud cover data over the Pacific from Hawaii to Pakistan. NASA was reimbursed by ESA and Japan for the Delta launchers and the agency's technical support of the two missions.

France's Centre National Etudes Spatiales and NASA worked together on the Cooperative Applications Satellite Eole, with France providing the satellite and the U.S. the launch vehicle, technical support, and analysis of the results. The satellite tracked some 750 instrumented balloons launched from Argentina from which it received data on wind speed and direction and air temperature and pressure. The 85-kilogram satellite was launched from Wallops Island by a Scout vehicle in August 1971.

International Meteorological Program. In December 1961 in reply to President John F. Kennedy's call for international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, the United Nations enacted General Assembly Resolution 1721. A recommendation to conduct an extensive global meteorological program was an important [287] part of that resolution. Two years later in December 1963, the UN formally endorsed a specific plan for international cooperation in meteorological training and research. The World Meterological Organization, an agency of the United Nations, coordinated the World Weather Program, of which there were two components: the World Weather Watch, initiated in 1963, and the Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP), endorsed in 1966. Broad goals of the World Weather Program included extending the time range and scope of weather prediction, assessing the consequences of man's pollution of the atmosphere, and determining the feasibility of large-scale weather modification. World Weather Watch was the program's operational arm, providing global observations, data processing, and telecommunications systems that brought each member nation basic weather information. GARP, a joint effort of the World Meteorological Organization and the International Council of Scientific Unions, was the research arm.9

Participating in the first major GARP observational experiment, the GARP Atlantic Tropical Experiment (GATE), were several U.S. organizations: the Department of Commerce (NOAA), the Department of Defense (USAF and USN), the Department of State, the Department of Transportation (USCG), the National Science Foundation, and NASA. GATE was planned to provide data on the behavior of tropical weather systems. Specialists hoped to incorporate this information into mathematical models of the global atmosphere. Programmed by computers, such models, together with satellite observations, could be used to produce computerized weather forecasts for several days in advance.

GATE was conducted from June 15 to September 23, 1974, over a 51.8 million square kilometer area of tropical land and seas from the eastern Pacific, across Latin America, the Atlantic, and Africa, to the western Indian Ocean. Some 4000 scientists, ship and aircraft crews, and technicians from 66 countries participated. Instruments were fixed on 38 ships, 65 buoys, 13 aircraft, and 6 satellites, gathering information from the top of the atmosphere to 1500 meters below the sea surface.

NASA's SMS 1, Nimbus.5, and ATS 3 satellites participated, along with NOAA 2 and 3. They furnished essential information on cloud systems, cloudtop heights and temperatures, cloud liquid water content, wind speed and direction, temperature and moistness in the atmosphere, and sea surface temperatures, day and night. Vanguard, part of NASA's global tracking and data acquisition network, was one of 38 ships involved. It gathered upper air wind profile and surface net data. NASA also provided a Convair 990 aircraft (1 of 13 participating aircraft) to make intensive measurements of air temperature, humidity, dew point, and pressure and to monitor other phenomena.

NASA was also assigned a major role in the First GARP Global Experiment (FGGE) planned for the late 1970s. The main feature of this ambitious international undertaking was a nine-satellite observing system: five in geostationary orbits (three U.S., one European, and one Japanese) and four in polar orbits (two U.S. and two Soviet).++++ To prepare for the experiment, NASA conducted a Data Systems Test [288] (DST) during 1974-1976 using conventional data collection systems and operational research and development satellites. The test checked the adequacy of the FGGE observing systems, data processing plans, and numerical forecasting models. The 11-month experiment, involving 147 countries, began in January 1979.

 

 

Communications Program

During its second decade, NASA launched 63 communications satellites. All but five were operational satellites launched to provide commercial communications, military network, support, or aids to navigation (see table 4-91). The space agency provided the launch vehicles (Deltas, Atlas-Centaurs, and Scouts), the necessary ground support, and initial tracking and data acquisition on a reimbursable basis. Seventeen comsats were launched for foreign countries, 11 for the U.S. military, 10 for U.S. commercial communications companies, 20 for the International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium (Intelsat), and 4 for the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation on a noninterfering basis with other payloads. Only two, CTS I (Communications Technology Satellite) and Fltsatcom (launched for the U.S. Navy), were exclusively research and development projects.

CTS was a joint project shared with NASA by the Canadian Department of Communications. CTS I was designed specifically to advance the technology of high-radiated radio-frequency-power satellites. Launched in January 1976 and operated for 34 months, it was the most powerful communications satellite launched to date. NASA's other advanced communications experiments were carried aboard the Applications Technology Satellites, which are discussed later in this chapter. A number of these experiments were related to the problems of frequency spectrum utilization.

The foreign, commercial, and military comsats, CTS 1, and the Intelsat series are considered on the following pages. For information on ATS, see elsewhere in this chapter.

At NASA Headquarters in early 1969, the communications program was under the purview of A. M. Greg Andrus, who in June 1969 became communications satellite program manager under Richard B. Marsten, new director of the communications program. Marsten was assisted by Jerome D. Rosenberg, deputy director. [290] Rosenberg was replaced by Samuel H. Hubbard in 1974; Andrus by Samuel W. Fordyce in 1973. For more information, see table 4-2.

 

 

Communications Technology Satellite. The Communications Technology Satellite (CTS), a joint U.S.-Canadian project, demonstrated that powerful satellite systems can bring low-cost television to remote areas anywhere on the globe. More than 160 U.S. experiments were conducted with CTS during its 34-month lifetime (January 17, 1976 to November 24, 1979), ranging from business teleconferences with two-way television and voice contact to emergency use during a 1977 flood in Pennsylvania. A highly instrumented portable ground terminal supported operations for the synchronous-orbit satellite.

Officials representing Canada's Department of Communications and NASA first signed an agreement concerning the project in April 1971. The Canadian Communications Research Centre designed and built the 347-kilogram spacecraft, and NASA tested it and provided a Delta launcher and instruments for the payload.

[295] With a life expectancy of two years, the cylindrical satellite with long solar panel wings operated in the 12 to 14 gigahertz frequency band. Its solar powered traveling wave transmitter, provided by NASA's Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, had 10 to 20 times the broadcast power of typical communications satellites of the 1970s (see fig. 4-5). This higher broadcast power made it possible to use much smaller and far less expensive ground receiving equipment.

At the Lewis Research Center, William H. Robbins acted as CTS project manager, and William H. Hawersaat was his deputy. Patrick L. Donoughe served as U.S. experiments manager. Missions operations were managed at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland by Robert G. Sanford. Adolph J. Cervenka was responsible for NASA Headquarters management of the project.

 


Figure 4-4. The large-winged Communications Technology Satellite was a joint U.S.-Canadian project that demonstrated new communications technology.

Figure 4-4. The large-winged Communications Technology Satellite was a joint U.S.-Canadian project that demonstrated new communications technology.


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Figure 4-5. CTS transmitted at a high power level (200 watts), permitting the reception of color television with a simple, low-cost ground receiver.

Figure 4-5. CTS transmitted at a high power level (200 watts), permitting the reception of color television with a simple, low-cost ground receiver. In remote areas of the U.S. and Canada, the population density was not sufficient for the large receiving stations typical of those used for communications satellites in the 1970s. With CTS, community service organizations, health care agencies, educational institutions, and businesses in remote areas had access to television communications systems.

Source: Lewis Research Center, "Communications Technology Satellite," Jan. 1976, pp. 2-3.

 

 

Intelsat Family. The International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium (Intelsat) was established in August 1964 to develop, implement, and operate an international communications satellite system. Each member nation (68 members in 1969; 92 in 1978) owned an investment share of the consortium proportional to its international traffic in a global satellite system and owned and operated its own ground stations. The Communications Satellite Corporation (Comsat), authorized by the U.S. Congress in 1962, served as the management and operations arm of Intelsat.

Intelsat 1, a 38-kilogram synchronous-orbit communications satellite, was orbited in April 1965. Four Intelsat 11 satellites were put to work in 1966-1967. In December 1968, the first successful launch of an Intelsat III model took place. Four more of the 146-kilogram, third-generation, TRW-built satellites followed over the next two years (2 other Intelsat Ills were unsuccessful), providing commercial communications links for the continents. Four satellites in synchronous orbits above the equator provided communications service across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, north and south of the equator. Each spin-stabilized satellite was capable of handling 1200 high-quality voice circuits or 4 color television channels.

The next member of the satellite family, Intelsat IV, was larger, weighing in at 718 kilograms in orbit, and more capable. Intelsat IV could provide 3000 to 9000 telephone circuits, or 12 color television channels, or a combination of telephone, television, data, and other forms of communications. A special feature of this spacecraft, made by Hughes Aircraft Company with the assistance of 10 international subcontractors, was two "spot beam" antennas, steerable dish antennas that could direct spot beams at selected parts of the world, providing them with [299] maximum capacity service. In addition, the satellite had two receiving and two transmitting horn antennas. Seven Intelsat IV satellites were orbitted in 1971-1975 (an eighth failed); however, the series suffered anomalies with the receivers and onboard batteries. Because of these hardware problems and because plans for the fifth-generation Intelsat called for a very advanced spacecraft, Hughes proposed a IV 1/2, or IVA, model. Intelsat IVA had a capacity two-thirds greater than its immediate predecessor. It also employed frequency reuse through spot beam separation, permitting communications in different directions on the same frequencies by using different transponders, thereby doubling the use of the same frequency. Intelsat IVA-F1, 826 kilograms in orbit, was launched in September 1975. Four others joined it by the end of 1978 (a sixth IVA failed), each capable of 6250 two-way voice circuits plus two television channels.

In 1976, Intelsat chose Aeronutronic Ford to build its fifth-generation comsat. The 900-kilogram satellite was expected to manage 12 000 voice circuits. The first of the series was launched in 1980.

Long-tank thrust-augmented Thor-Delta launch vehicles were used to orbit the Intelsat III satellites. Atlas-Centaurs were used for the heavier Intelsat IVs and IVAs. In late 1978, Intelsat had decided to buy Atlas-Centaur vehicles for the first four fifth-generation satellites and the European Ariane for the sixth. The communications consortium planned to book space on Shuttle for the remaining two payloads. Using Shuttle would save Intelsat considerable money. In 1976 dollars, it would cost $37.6 million to launch Intelsat V in the 1980s; $19.4 million on Shuttle. In 1977, it was predicted that taking advantage of the reusable launcher would cost $22.1 million if the payload was exclusively Intelsat; the price, would come down to $14.7 million if Intelsat shared the cargo bay with another client.

 


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300]

Figure 4-6. Intelsat Satellites and Ground Network.

Figure 4-6. Intelsat Satellites and Ground Network.

Source: Intelsat IV F-3 MOR, S-634, 71-02, Oct. 17, 1971, p. 14.

 

 

Applications Technology Satellite

The overall objective of the Applications Technology Satellite (ATS) program was to investigate and flight-test technological developments common to a number of satellite applications. Designers of ATS at Hughes Aircraft Company and the Goddard Space Flight Center built on the successful Syncom communications satellite design. Each of six ATS spacecraft carried a variety of communications, meteorology, and scientific experiments, in addition to providing a platform for evaluating three different kinds of spacecraft stabilization systems.

ATS 1 (1966) and ATS 3 (1967) were synchronous-orbit spin-stabilized satellites. ATS 2 (1967) was a medium-altitude gravity-gradient-stabilized vehicle. ATS 4 (1968) and ATS 5 (1969) were synchronous-orbit gravity-gradient-stabilized. ATS 6, a new design launched in 1974, was synchronous-orbit three-axis-actively stabilized.

Funds for the first five ATS missions were released in 1964. ATS F and G were approved in 1968. Congress, however, struck the second advanced ATS from the roster in January 1973 in response to budget constraints. Attempts to revive it by NASA in mid-1974 failed.

ATS 5, launched in August 1969, was the last of the original five missions. This cylindrical spacecraft carried a gravity gradient experiment designed to provide basic design information about this new system for spacecraft stabilization. In addition, ATS 5 investigators planned four communications experiments, the evaluation of an ion engine thruster, a solar cell experiment, four particle measurements, and four other scientific investigations in the areas of electric fields, solar radio, electron content of the ionosphere and magnetosphere, and magnetic fields. The mission, however, was only partially successful.

After the spacecraft was placed in a nominal transfer orbit, excessive nutational motion caused the spacecraft to spin transversely. Even after the motor case was ejected and the spacecraft established its spin about its long axis, the spin was in the....

 


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Figure 4-7. The ATS 5 gravity gradient stabilization system was designed to serve as a verification of a previously developed mathematical model for a gravity-stabilized vehicle in synchronous orbit.

Figure 4-7. The ATS 5 gravity gradient stabilization system was designed to serve as a verification of a previously developed mathematical model for a gravity-stabilized vehicle in synchronous orbit. The system was comprised of three major hardware areas: (1) four gravity gradient booms, extension mechanisms, and a scissoring mechanism, (2) passive dampers and (3) attitude sensors.

Source: NASA, "ATS 5 Mission operations Report," S-630-69-05, July 29, 1969, p. 27.

 

....opposite direction planned. The important gravity gradient experiments were rendered useless. Only some secondary experiments were conducted successfully.

ATS 6, a much heavier, more sophisticated satellite than its predecessors, was built by Fairchild Industries for the Goddard Space Flight Center.+++++ It was designed to serve basically as a multipurpose communications satellite with a large 9.14-meter aperture parabolic antenna. The highly successful ATS 6, launched in May 1974, was used to conduct 15 major experiments in the fields of space communications (2), space technology (3), tracking and data relay (1), space science (5), and user [327] experiments (1). Its user experiments were highly publicized, providing educational broadcasts to remote areas, communications links between rural clinics and urban hospitals, educational programs in India, and educational and medical programs in the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains. Its initial geosynchronous orbit allowed users in the U.S. to take advantage of the advanced services offered by ATS 6. In 1975, NASA moved it eastward over Central Africa, from where it could be used by India. The astronauts aboard the Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft also took advantage of the new position of ATS to augment their communications links during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in July 1975. The following year, it was repositioned over the western hemisphere again. This last ATS spacecraft was operational through August 1979.

At NASA Headquarters, Joseph R. Burke and Albert G. Opp served as program manager and program scientist for ATS 5. During the last mission, Harry Mannheimer was program manager, assisted by Paul J. McCeney, program engineer. Applications Technology Satellite was managed by the Goddard Space Flight Center, where Robert J. Darcey and T. L. Aggson acted as project manager and project scientist. For ATS 6, John M. Thole had assumed the project manager role, with Edward A. Wolff serving as project scientist and Anthony H. Sabehhaus as spacecraft manager.

The first series of ATS spacecraft were launched by Atlas-Agena and Atlas-Centaur boosters. A Titan IIIC orbitted ATS 6. All launches took place at the Kennedy Space Center.

 


Figure 4-8. The large parabolic antenna of ATS 6 dwarfs the main spacecraft body.

Figure 4-8. The large parabolic antenna of ATS 6 dwarfs the main spacecraft body.

Source: NASA, "ATS 6 Mission Operations Report," E-630-74-06, May 24, 1974, p. 32.

 

 

Earth Observations Program

NASA's earth observations program included three related but distinct projects during the 1970s: (1) Aboard Skylab, astronauts continued the evaluations of earth photography and sensing techniques started during the Gemini program of the 1960s. Three Skylab crews worked with the Earth Resources Experiments Package (EREP) in 1973-1974. (2) Specially-equipped aircraft further tested cameras and remote sensing equipment. The Johnson Space Center and the Ames Research Center participated in this Earth Resources Survey Program, using several different aircraft. (3) NASA launched its first Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS) in 1972, which was equipped with instruments tested during the manned space program and flown on survey aircraft. Later renamed Landsat, this satellite project was a joint NASA-user agency undertaking.

According to Dr. John DeNoyer, director of the earth observation programs for the Office of Space Science and Applications, speaking before the House Committee on Science and Astronautics in 1970, the program was designed to "develop economical techniques for surveying the resources of our earth, measuring the changes in these resources, and monitoring many environmental and ecological relationships."10 Specifically, the agency hoped to achieve the following objectives:

 

 

Satellite data would be applied to several resource management fields: agriculture, forestry, and range resources; cartography and land use; geology; water resources; oceanography and marine resources; and environmental monitoring (see table 4-159).

Photographing and measuring the earth from orbital platforms was not an idea unique to the earth observations program. NASA satellites had been sensing the planet since the first Tiros weather satellite was launched in 1960. As listed in table 4-160, a variety of increasingly sophisticated sensors were developed for meteorology payloads and Applications Technology Satellites during the 1960s and 1970s. ERTS and Landsat craft, however, were the first satellites devoted exclusively to the monitoring of earth's resources.

 

 

Earth Resource Experiments Package. The first reports from Mercury astronauts of the view of the earth that spaceflight provided them spawned public interest in earth observation. Hand-held cameras became a popular item for late Mercury and Gemini manned flights. The systematic use of hand-held cameras during 1965 and 1966 by Gemini astronauts produced approximately 1100 photographs in normal color and infrared, which were useful to geologists. The higher-resolution images served as a stimulus to the agency's earth observations program and to the development of remote sensors.11

In early discussions, Apollo applications program managers suggested that earth resources observations should be included among possible objectives for an orbiting manned laboratory. Leonard Jaffe, acting director of the Earth Observations Program Division of OSSA, supported the proposal. EREP grew from four instruments suggested in 1969 to six. A multispectral photographic facility was an improved version of an experiment that had flown on Apollo 9; six different cameras would each record a different spectral range of visible to infrared light. The other five experiments would record the intensity of radiation emitted by or reflected from [335] surface features. Two spectrometers and a 10-band multispectral scanner operated in the infrared spectrum. Another instrument served as a microwave radiometer and a radar scatterometer. A passive L-band radiometer mapped temperatures of terrestrial surfaces, and a higher-resolution camera aided in the interpretation of data from the other sensors. NASA would operate EREP, but it asked prospective investigators to suggest uses for the data the package would provide during 60 earth-oriented passes. At a Skylab Results Symposium held in 1974, teams of investigators reported on the earth resources program. The microwave instruments showed promise for measuring soil moisture and the multispectral photographs were applicable for mapping geological and agricultural features. One group was using multispectral images in a computerized program of land-use determination. These preliminary results indicated that Skylab's sensors had performed as expected and that the investigators had found them useful.12

Aircraft Project. NASA's Earth Resources Survey Aircraft Project had its roots in aerial reconnaissance and photogrammetry-mapmaking from aerial photographs - used extensively since World War I. NASA managers recognized that aircraft could also serve as less expensive testbeds for radar and earth observation instruments being designed for spacecraft. The Johnson Space Center acquired its first aircraft, a Convair 240A, in late 1964. Engineers equipped it with mapping and multispectral cameras and radar and infrared systems. The next year, NASA borrowed a Lockheed P-3A from the Navy that could operate at intermediate altitudes (6000-16 500 meters). Two Lockheed C-130Bs were added to the fleet before the end of the decade. NASA Acting Administrator George M. Low approved the use of high-altitude aircraft in 1970, and Ames Research Center acquired two Lockheed U-2s the following year, and the Johnson Space Center gained access to a WB-57F. NASA used other military aircraft on a noninterference basis.

Sensors tested on aircraft could be repaired or improved between flights, something not possible with spacecraft-borne instruments. And high-altitude aircraft could provide useful sample data for the users so that they might develop their interpretative methods in advance of receiving the actual satellite data. Such data also served to stimulate interest among the user community.

ERTS/Landsat. NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight initiated the agency's enthusiasm for an earth observations program. It was the intention of OMSF in the mid-1960s that the program would be conducted on manned missions, with unmanned orbital satellite tests of the instruments to precede manned flights. NASA's plans for an incremental, large program were not conducive to the early development of a useful tool for potential data users, the number of which had been growing steadily.

Since 1964, the agency had let contracts to universities and transferred funds to other government agencies for studies of the usefulness of remote sensing data. These studies generated a great deal of enthusiasm for an earth resources remote-sensing satellite. The University of Michigan began work on a multispectral scanner to be used in earth orbit. The U.S. Geological Survey of the Department of the Interior submitted its suggestions for a Small Orbiting earth Resources Observatory in August 1966. The Department of Agriculture also was anxious to have access to data of the type promised by an earth observations satellite.

In September 1966, the Department of the Interior publicly announced its intentions to plan an Earth Resources Observation Satellite (EROS) program, with the [336] first launch to take place in 1969. Interior, who insisted that there were flight-ready sensors available, was pressing for an operational system; NASA, a research and development agency, contended that any EROS-type satellite would be experimental in nature. NASA responded to Interior officially in April 1967; the space agency believed that there was a need for significant development of sensor, data storage, and data transmission technologies before they would be mission-ready. But NASA, through its Office of Space Science and Applications, did accelerate its program, predicting a launch by the early 1970s, and began a series of budget fights with the Bureau of the Budget, Congress, and the White House that were to be an annual feature of the ERTS project.13

NASA gave sensor development a high priority. Three types were considered for a simple earth observations satellite: photographic cameras, television cameras (vidicons), and scanners. Goddard Space Flight Center personnel conducted a preliminary design study in 1967 and worked on improving existing sensor designs through the fall of 1968. In October, managers approved the satellite project and initiated a full-scale design and development phase, assigning its management to Goddard. RCA began to work on a return beam vidicon, and the University of Michigan continued development of their scanner. Interior focused its energies on an EROS Data Center, which would distribute ERTS data to the users. An Earth Resources Survey Program Review Committee, with representatives from several agencies interested in EROS, monitored the program's progress.++++++

In October 1969, NASA awarded two competitive contracts to GE and TRW for ERTS system design and development. These two companies had had positive experiences with the Nimbus meteorological satellite and the Orbiting Geophysical Laboratory, respectively. The following year, the space agency selected GE, with Bendix Corporation as its data processing system subcontractor, as the prime contractor for ERTS. The team of contractors met the first launch date. The Western Test Range successfully launched ERTS 1 on July 23, 1972. Before the launch of the second satellite on January 22, 1975, NASA changed the name of the project to Landsat. Landsat 3, with improved sensing capabilities, was launched on March 5, 1978, and a fourth satellite was scheduled for 1980. (See table 4-161 for a detailed chronology of events, and tables 4-162 through 164 for mission information.)

The first three Landsat missions all surpassed their predicted operational lifetimes. NASA deactivated Landsat I in 1978 and Landsal 2 in 1980.14

The Office of Space Science and Applications (later the Office of Applications and later still the Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications) managed the Landsat program. Before ERTS became an approved project in 1969, J. Robert Porter led an Office of Earth Resources Survey Disciplines under the direction of Leonard Jaffe, director of space applications programs. By the time of the first launch, the Office of Applications had formed an earth observation programs directorate, which was led by John M. DeNoyer, formerly of the Department of the Interior. Bruton B. Schardt served as DeNoyer's ERTS-Nimbus program director. Three years later, William E. Stoney assumed leadership of the directorate, and Harry Mannheimer [337] became program manager for Landsat-Nimbus. Pitt G. Thome was director of the Resource Observation Division of the new Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications in 1978, with Mannheimer retained as program manager for Landsat. At the Goddard Space Flight Center where the project was directed, W. E. Scull served as project manager for Landsat 1, while W. Nordberg acted as project scientist. For Landsat 2, Jack Sargent took over as project manager, with Stanley C. Freden as project scientist. Freden and project manager R. Browning oversaw Landsat 3. All launches took place at the Western Test Range.

 

 

[342] Other Earth Observation Flight Projects. NASA launched five other earth observation-type missions during the 1970s: GEOS 3, LA GEOS, Seasat 1, TOPO 1, and Heat Capacity Mapping Mission (HCMM.

GEOS 3 was the third satellite in a series designed to gain knowledge of earth's shape and dynamic behavior (Explorer 29 and Explorer 36 preceded it in 1965 and 1968). NASA specifically assigned GEOS 3 the task of measuring precisely the topography of the ocean surface and the sea state - wave height, period, and direction. Launched in April 1975 from the Western Test Range and directed by the Wallops Flight Center, it spent its first year providing altimeter calibrations from the North Atlantic to investigators and conducting global satellite-to-satellite (GEOS 3 to A TS 6) calibrations, in addition to providing ground tracking data. The rest of the satellite's lifetime was spent collecting ground tracking data and providing altimeter data globally. Active until 1979, GEOS 3 contributed to fulfilling the oceanographic, geodetic, and radar calibration requirements of the Department of Commerce and the Department of Defense and served as an interim step between the National Geodetic Satellite Program and the emerging earth and ocean physics applications program (see table 4-165).

The golf ball-appearing LA GEOS, launched in May 1976, was a passive satellite covered with more than 400 laser retroflectors. Under the management of the Marshall Space Flight Center, LAGEOS demonstrated the capability of laser satellite tracking techniques to make accurate determinations of the movement of the earth's crust and rotational motions. The concept for such a mission was initially studied by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) in 1970 and by Marshall Space Flight Center (Project Cannonball) in 1971. With LAGEOS, investigators observed phenomena associated with earthquakes, fault motions, regional strain fields, dilatancy, tectonic plate motion, polar motion, earth rotation, and solid earth tides. The satellite was tracked by SAO's Baker-Nunn camera network (see table 4-166).

In 1973, NASA proposed a satellite project by which the feasibility of acquiring data applicable to monitoring and predicting physical ocean phenomena could be demonstrated. Interest in such a capability was shared by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Commerce. NASA Headquarters assigned Seasat to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1975, who chose Lockheed as the prime spacecraft contractor later that year. With its five sensors, Seasat I was launched from the Western Test Range in June 1978. Unfortunately, 106 days after launch the spacecraft failed because of an electrical short (see table 4-167).

In 1970, NASA launched on a reimbursable basis TOPO I for the U.S. Army Topographic Command. This small satellite was the first of a series designed to investigate a new technique for accurate real-time determination of position on earth's surface for mapping purposes. TOPO I was part of the Army's Geodetic Sequential Collation of Range Program (see table 4-168).

The Heat Capacity Mapping Mission, also known as Applications Explorer Mission A, was launched by a Scout vehicle on April 26, 1978. In near-earth sun-synchronous orbit, HCMM proved the feasibility of using day/night thermal imagery to generate apparent thermal inertial values and temperature cycle data for a variety of purposes. Investigators hoped these data could be applied to measuring and monitoring surface soil moisture changes, measuring plant canopy temperatures, measuring urban heat levels, mapping surface thermal gradients on [343] land and in water and related tasks. HCMM's major instrument was a Heat Capacity Mapping Radiometer. The mission was the first in what was hoped would be a series of low-cost modular spacecraft that would operate in special orbits to satisfy unique data acquisition requirements on an experimental basis (see table 4-169).

 

 


* From November 1961 through October 1963, space science and space applications were distinct programs; from November 1963 through November 1971 they were managed together; they were separated into two offices again in December 1971; they would be recombined in 1981.

** Members of the Space Task Group include Spiro T. Agnew, chairman, Robert C. Seamans, Thomas 0. Paine, and Lee A. Dubridge; U. Alexis Johnson, Glenn T. Seaborg, and Robert P. Mayo were observers. The group was organized by Nixon in February 1969 for the express purpose of advising him on the direction the U.S. space program should take in the post-Apollo period.

*** These four programs were known by several names during various reorganizations of OSSA/OA. Consult table 4-2 for more detailed information.

**** See table 4-2 for detailed information on program management.

***** With inflation increasing each year, NASA's budget continued to decrease through 1975 in terms of actual spending power. See House Committee on Science and Technology, Subcommittee on Space Science and Applications, United States Civilian Space Programs, 1958-1978, Report, 97th Cong., 1st session (Washington, 1981), p. 59.

+ Only those missions actually flown during 1969-78 are considered. Several applications projects that received their funding and research start in this decade but had not reached flight-ready status by the close of 1978 will be included in a future volume.

++ The National Operational Environmental Satellite System (NOESS) was established in 1966 for the continuous observation of the atmosphere on an operational basis.

+++ IRLS was used for many applications. One that received a great deal of publicity was the Nimbus 3 elk experiment of 1970. To provide information on migration patterns of wild animals, collars equipped with the necessary electronics were put on two elk in Wyoming. Twice daily, Nimbus 3 was to interrrogate the collars to get information on air and skin temperature, altitude above sea level, light intensity, and location. Monique the elk died of pneumonia one week after its collar was put on; Monique II was shot by hunters after it had been tracked for one month.

++++ In geostationary orbit were GOES 1, 2, and 3, Meteosat, and GMS. In polar orbit were Tiros N, NOAA 6, and two USSR satellites of the Meteor class. Nimbus 7 also supplied information on ocean rainfall and sea surface temperatures, bringing to 10 the number of satellites supporting FGGE.

+++++ See table 4-156 for details on the contractor selection process for ATS F and G.

++++++ Membership in 1970 included John E. Naugle, NASA, chairman; William T. Pecors, Department of the Interior; T. C. Byerly, Department of Agriculture; Robert M. White, Department of Commerce; Robert A. Frosch, Department of the Navy; and Leonard Jaffe, NASA.


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