TIROS 1's 50th Anniversary - April 1, 2010
An Astro Princeton Area Celebration - In Initial Planning Phase


This section covers the RCA Astro's continued work in the 2nd decade with the Improved TOS and the transforming design of the new DMSP Blk5 satellites.

  • ITOS made continuous inprovements in the sensor compliment over the decade as the ESSA satellites dropped out fo service
  • All launches were moved to the Western Test Range (WTR)
  • Work began on the first DMSP contract for DMSP Blk5D to overhaul the system from requirements implimentation.
  • The integration bays expansion at the Locust Corner supported many new mission spacecraft.
  • As the 2nd decade came to a close, TIROS N was launched in 1978 employing a modified precision pointing platform from the DMSP series to support NASA mission payload subsystems.
  • Corresponding Ground System improvements were made in the TIROS Ground Station equipment to Wallops Island and Gilmore Creek, Alaska.
  • DMSP continued to deploy the 5D1 series of spacecraft.
  • The launch vehicles were upgraded to support larger and heavier payloads
  • The 3rd decade saw DMSP introduced an upgraded 5D2 series of spacecraft; nine of this series were successful and increased the longevity of the spacecraft.
  • NASA/NOAA continued with upgrades to the TIROS N/NOAA series of spacecraft.
  • Astro plant expansion continued as the Shuttle mission were supported.
  • Corresponding improvements were made in the TIROS series when TIROS N was introduced with TIROS Ground Station equipment to Wallops Island and Gilmore Creek, Alaska.
  • The launch vehicles were upgraded to support larger and heavier payloads
  • Astro plant expansion continued as the Shuttle missions were supported.
  • Astro as a business unit was transferred to General Electric (GE) when GE purchased RCA.
  • Nation policy changed to converge TIROS/ NOAA and DMSP projects into an expanded and unified program.
  • GE sold the GE Aerospace units at Valley Forge (VF) and Astro at (EW) to Martin Marrietta (MM).
  • Lockheed and Martin Marietta merged to be Lockheed Martin (LM).
  • As the Astro facility was closed in East Windsor, NJ, TIROS and DMSP programs moved to Lockeed Martin's facilities at Sunnyvale, CA and continued the provide these systems to support NOAA. The latest and last TIROS, TIROS N Prime was launched in Feb 2008.
  • DMSP Blk5D-3 spacecraft series was introduced with increased performance and mission life.
  • DMSP Blk-2 S-13 was the last in the series produced at Astro, and work on these continued at Sunnyvale with S-14.
  • The last TIROS spacecraft, TIROS N Prime, was launched in Feb. 2009.

There are 54 slides divided into four segments or parts of the show, each lasting about 6 minutes. Each Part provides a link to jump to the next Part of slides.

The more recent Astro participants in the TIROS or DMSP activities or their family members may provide some additional material that will be added if storage space is available. Initially, slide narration was considered, but techniques are needed to access the audio files in a timely manner and provide the necessary storage space. It is recommended you start at Part 1, but one can select either Part 1 or Part 2 , 3 or 4 link below,

  1. TIROS DMSP Tale [1971-1980] Review of the ITOS spacecraft teams in integration - A brief description of the DMSPS Blk 5D, and the subsequent DMSP integration teams - TIROS N configured to use the DMSP configurations.
  2. TIROS DMSP Tale [1981-1990] In the 1980s, as DMSP deployed the DMSP 5D2 series and TIROS/NOAA continued to support requirements with derivatives from TIROS N. Astro expanded the plant in 1982 and again in 1984 as the business was booming. The General Electric (GE) Company purchased the former RCA and merged former Astro aerospace EW plant and the GE Valley Forge (VF) aerospace plant as GE Astro Space.
  3. TIROS DMSP Tale [1991-2000] In 1992, GE Aerospace was sold to Martin Marietta (MM), the latter Marietta continued to operate both TIROS and DMSP and owned all aspects operations at Astro. In 1994, President Clinton and Congress began the long discussed process to converge thee TIROS and DMSP programs to be operationally combined. This process was a multi year plan to phase the final procurements and plan for the transition. In 1995, Lockheed and Martin merged to become Lockheed Martin (LM) Aerospace with elements of their Lockheed business in Sunnyvale, CA and Martin Denver, in Denver, CO. In this transaction, LM began the transfer of teams and projects to other facilities as contract obligations to TIROS and DMSP continued. NOAA was operating TIROS N derivatives and the DMSP Blk5D-3 series was introduced at the end of the decade. By the end of 1998, the former Astro plant in East Windsor, NJ was closed and property was sold into the commercial market.
  4. TIROS DMSP Tale [2000-2009] In new decade, the DMSP and TIROS systems were operating independently under an ultimate framework of the National Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) was fully organized. Boeing won contracts for follow-on systems of both TIROS and DMSP in the NPOESS era, and the LM continued to support requirements for items under contract. We close this slide tribute to DMSP and TIROS briefly examing the latest configurations of DMSP that were developed at Sunnyvale, and last TIROS in the series . . . TIROS N Prime.

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