TIROS II Spac0116-repair.jpg
TIROS-2 before launch
Mission typeWeather satellite
Harvard designation1960 Pi 1
COSPAR ID1960-016A
SATCAT no.63
Mission duration376 days
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeTIROS
ManufacturerRCA Astro
Launch mass127 kilograms (280 lb)[2]
Start of mission
Launch dateNovember 23, 1960, 11:13:03 (1960-11-23UTC11:13:03Z) UTC[3]
RocketThor DM-19 Delta
Launch siteCape Canaveral LC-17A
End of mission
Last contactDecember 4, 1961 (1961-12-05)
Decay dateMay 2014
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Semi-major axis6,755.43 kilometers (4,197.63 mi)
Perigee altitude374 kilometers (232 mi)
Apogee altitude394 kilometers (245 mi)
Inclination48.51 degrees
Period92.09 minutes
EpochDecember 8, 2013, 11:58:18 UTC[4]
Widefield Radiometer
Scanning Radiometer
Television Camera System

TIROS 2 (or TIROS-B) was a spin-stabilized meteorological satellite. It was the second in a series of Television Infrared Observation Satellites. It re-entered in May 2014.[5]


The launch of TIROS-2
Universal newsreel about TIROS-2

TIROS 2 was launched on November 23, 1960 at 11:13:03 UTC, by a Thor-Delta rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The spacecraft functioned nominally until January 22, 1962. The satellite orbited the Earth once every 98 minutes, at an inclination of 48.5°. Its perigee was 609 kilometers (329 nmi) and apogee was 742 kilometers (401 nmi).

The satellite maintained a spin rate of 8–12 rpm by the use of five diametrically opposed pairs of small, solid-fuel thrusters. The spin axis could be oriented to within 1–2° accuracy by the use of a magnetic attitude control device, consisting of 250 coils of wire wound around the outer surface of the spacecraft. The interaction between the induced magnetic field in the spacecraft and the earth's magnetic field provided the necessary torque for attitude control. The spacecraft functioned nominally until January 22, 1961.

TIROS 2 was powered by 9,260 1-by-2-cm silicon solar cells. It had two independent television camera subsystems for taking pictures of cloud cover, plus a five-channel medium-resolution scanning radiometer and a two channel non-scanning low resolution radiometer for measuring radiation from the earth and its atmosphere.


TIROS 2 added two infrared radiometers to TIROS 1 instruments, which allowed more analysis of frontal zones.[6]


  1. ^ "TIROS". NASA Science. Archived from the original on December 9, 2014. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  2. ^ "TIROS 2". National Space Science Data Center. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  3. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  4. ^ "TIROS 2 Satellite details 1960-016A NORAD 63". N2YO. December 8, 2013. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  5. ^ TIROS 2
  6. ^ Hawkins, R. S. (October 1, 1964). "Analysis and Interpretation of TIROS II Infrared Radiation Measurements". Journal of Applied Meteorology. 3 (5): 564–572. doi:10.1175/1520-0450(1964)003<0564:aaioti>2.0.co;2. hdl:2027/mdp.39015095125376. ISSN 0021-8952.