Objectives: Sense meteorological conditions from a fixed location above the
Earth; provide this data to operational forecasters and private
interests on the ground. The satellite was designed to compliment SMS-1 and
cover the Western U.S. and Pacific basin.
The spacecraft was a
cylinder 75 inches in diameter, 103 inches high and weighed 630 pounds.
The sides of the cylinder were covered by 15,000 solar cells which, along
with nicad batteries, provided the power for the craft. A single
triangular magnetometer unit was located on the top of the craft which
extended 33". The spacecraft was spin stabilized and rotated at 100
revolutions per minute.
The principle instrument on board was the Visible
Infrared Spin Scan Radiometer (VISSR) which provided day and night imagery
of cloud conditions over the full-disk. The satellite had the capability
to monitor cataclysmic weather events such as hurricanes and
typhoons continuously, relay data from over 10,000 surface locations into
a central processing center for incorporation into weather
prediction models, and to perform facsimile transmission of processed
images and weather maps to WEFAX field stations. In addition, a Space
Environment Monitor (SEM) and Data Collection System (DCS) similar to those
on the NOAA polar orbiters were installed.
SMS-2 was placed in a
geostationary orbit directly over the equator at 135W (over the east-central
Hughes, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Aerospace Corporation, Bell Telephone
SMS-2 being prepared for launch: it viewed the western US and Hawaii,
while its sister spacecraft, SMS-1, viewed the Eastern
February 6, 1975
Deactivated by NASA on August 5, 1982
Cape Canaveral, FL
Photo: SMS-B erected atop its Delta booster.
1968 - 1977