Synchronous Meteorological Satellite


Illustration of a Synchronous Meteorological Satellite

The Synchronous Meteorological Satellite (SMS) program, was a program where NASA developed two weather satellites; which were placed into geosynchronous orbit.


SMS-1 was launched May 17, 1974 and SMS-2 was launched February 6, 1975.[1][2] Both satellites were carried to orbit by Delta 2914 rockets.[3] The program was initiated after the successes achieved by the Applications Technology Satellite (ATS) research satellites, which demonstrated the feasibility of using satellites in geosynchronous orbit for meteorology. The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) program, which now supports weather forecasting, severe storm tracking, and meteorology research in the United States, followed immediately after the SMS program; the GOES 1 satellite was initially designated SMS-C.[4] SMS-1 and SMS-2; and GOES-1, GOES-2, and GOES-3; were essentially identical.[5]

List of SMS satellites

Designation Launch Date/Time (UTC) Rocket Launch Site Longitude First Image Status Retirement Remarks
Launch Operational

SMS series satellites

SMS-A SMS-1 May 17, 1974 Delta 2914
SMS-B SMS-2 February 6, 1975 Delta 2914

SMS-derived satellites

GOES 1 October 16, 1975, 22:40 Delta 2914 CCAFS LC-17A October 25, 1975 Retired March 7, 1985[6]
GOES 2 June 16, 1977, 10:51 Delta 2914 CCAFS LC-17B 60°W Retired 1993[7] Reactivated as comsat in 1995,[7] finally deactivated in May 2001
GOES 3 June 16, 1978, 10:49 Delta 2914 CCAFS LC-17B Retired 1993[8] Reactivated as comsat in 1995,[8] still operational


  1. ^ "SMS 1 - NSSDC ID: 1974-033A". NASA NSSDC.
  2. ^ "SMS 2 - NSSDC ID: 1975-011A". NASA NSSDC.
  3. ^ Jonathan McDowell. "Launch Log".
  4. ^ "GOES 1 - NSSDC ID: 1975-100A". NASA NSSDC.
  5. ^ "SMS". NASA SMD.
  6. ^ "GOES-1". ESE 40th Anniversary. NASA. 1999-05-12. Retrieved 2009-06-23. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ a b "GOES-2". ESE 40th Anniversary. NASA. 1999-04-22. Retrieved 2009-06-23. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ a b "GOES-3". ESE 40th Anniversary. NASA. 1999-04-22. Retrieved 2009-06-23. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)