|In 1947, an unmanned American rocket carried a
camera into outer space and recorded pictures of Earth from
space. The pictures showed how the atmosphere appeared from
above. Cloud formations were clearly visible. The pictures
gave scientists proof that weather observations could be
made from space on a regular basis.
|In 1960, the first weather satellite was
launched into orbit around planet Earth. Called
TIROS, for Television InfraRed
Observational Satellite, it carried a video
camera to make regular observations of the atmosphere below.
For the first time, meteorologists were able to compare
their localized ground-based weather observations with
broader pictures of the weather system. Weather forecasting
took a dramatic leap forward. After the initial successes,
nine more TIROS satellites were put into orbit during the
|In 1966, the United States placed its first
weather satellite in high, geostationary orbit. Called
ATS, for Applications Technology
Satellite, the satellite travelled at the same speed
the Earth rotates, appearing to remain stationary with
respect to the Earth below. From this geostationary orbit
location 22,300 miles above the equator, ATS took the first
pictures showing a whole hemisphere of the Earth at once.
With ATS images, meteorologists saw how clouds moved and
storms formed over wide regions.
|The development of satellite weather technology had
an enormous impact on the field of meteorology. The "big
pictures" came into focus, and weather forecasting became