|Mission type||Weather satellite|
|Launch mass||770.0 kg (1,697.6 lb)|
|Dimensions||3.7 metres (12 ft) tall x 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) dia.|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||December 11, 1972, 07:56UTC|
|Launch site||Vandenberg SLC-2W|
|End of mission|
|Last contact||29 March 1983|
|Perigee altitude||1,089 kilometers (677 mi)|
|Apogee altitude||1,101 kilometers (684 mi)|
The objective of Nimbus 5 was to test and evaluate advanced sensing technology, and to provide improved photographs of cloud formations.
Nimbus 5 was launched on December 11, 1972, by a Delta rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, USA. The satellite orbited the Earth once every 107 minutes, at an inclination of 99°. Its perigee was 1,089 kilometers (677 mi) and apogee was 1,101 kilometers (684 mi).
There were 6 science instruments aboard Nimbus 5. The satellite also included sun sensors, and horizon scanners for navigation.
The ITPR was designed to obtain vertical profiles of temperature and moisture in the atmosphere. A 3-dimensional map could then be created with a resolution of 32 km.
The SCR had three objectives; to observe the global atmospheric temperature structure, to observe the distribution of water vapor, and to measure the density of ice crystals in cirrus clouds. It's sensing resolution was about 25 km.
NEMS was to demonstrate the use of microwave sensors for measuring tropospheric temperature profiles, and water content in clouds, and surface temperature. The instrument monitored five selected frequencies continuously. The data were recorded on a magnetic tape so they could be transmitted later.
ESMR was used for mapping the microwave radiation from Earth's surface. This information was used to measure the water content of clouds, and to observe sea ice. It was also used to test the use of microwaves to measure soil moisture. The antenna system was deployed after launch, and controlled by an onboard computer.
For measuring the thermal emission characteristics of earth's surface and sea temperatures. A scanning mirror rotated ten times per second to sense sections 800 km wide. SCMR malfunctioned soon after launch.
THIR was for measuring cloud top temperatures and water vapor content in the stratosphere. It could measure cloud temperatures in the day and at night. The sensing unit was a bolometers made from germanium.