Argos

Argos Data Collection
and Location System
(and Data Collection System (DCS)
on geostationary satellites)

Argos
logo (older)logo (newer)

This page contains philatelic information on the Argos data collection and location system (and Data Collection System (DCS) on geostationary satellites). Catalog numbers, years of issue, and notes on the satellites featured are given when available. If readers know of additional information or images, please contact the authors using the e-mail addresses at the bottom of this page.

Argos is a satellite-based system which collects, processes, and disseminates environmental data from fixed and mobile platforms worldwide, as well as the ability to geographically locate the source of the data anywhere on the Earth. Since 1978, Argos has provided data to environmental research and protection communities that, in many cases, was otherwise unobtainable. Many remote automatic observing stations report via Argos.

Argos was developed under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The system utilizes both ground and satellite-based resources to accomplish its mission. This includes instruments carried aboard the NOAA polar-orbiting environmental satellites (POES), receiving stations around the world, and major processing facilities in France and the US.

The necessary equipment for Argos has been placed aboard various satellites:

  1. US NOAA weather satellites (beginning with TIROS-N, launched in October 1978)
  2. Japanese ADEOS-2 weather satellite (launched in December 2002, carrying Argos-2)
  3. European MetOp satellites (the first was launched in October 2006, carrying Argos-3)

Argos is not an acronym, rather, it is the chosen name for the system. Unlike the COSPAS / SARSAT system designed specifically for the rescue of persons in distress, the Argos system is intended for environmental data collection and limited other use. However, many of the system characteristics are similar, such as global coverage provided by the use of the same polar-orbiting weather satellites to collect and transfer the data to ground stations. Reference: http://noaasis.noaa.gov/ARGOS/.

The Argos system/program should not be confused with the ARGOS (Advanced Research Global Observation Satellite) astronomy mission launched in 1999.

Since the Argos and GOES DCS (Data Collection Systems) can accept data from various data collection platforms including land autostations and ocean weather buoys, philatelic items that refer to DCS can be considered to refer implicitly to those two types of data collection platforms.

Launch covers
(including anniversary-of-launch covers, and launch-related event covers)
(farther below)
Other postal items
(stamps, souvenir sheets, aerogrammes, postal cards, etc.)
(immediately below)
Argos data collection and location system Argos data collection and location system
DCS on geostationary satellites DCS on geostationary satellites


Below is a list of Argos and DCS on postal items (stamps, souvenir sheets, aerogrammes, postal cards, etc.).

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Argos data collection and location system
Comoro Islands768b (BL350A)
i768b (BL350B)
In (upper-right) margin of SS1 (768)
In (upper-right) margin of imperforate SS1 (i768)
1991"'Système Argos'"; also "Satellite NOAA"
FranceNoneCachet on cover1979Aerial view of the Argos Centre at CNES (Centre National d'Études Spatiales)
French Southern and Antarctic TerritoriesC50 (Mi128)
iC50

Imperforate
1979As part of the FGGE, isentropic balloon data and ocean buoy data were collected by a NOAA/ATN satellite as part of "Programme Argos"
French Southern and Antarctic TerritoriesC114 (Mi281)
iC114

Imperforate
1991"Albatros - Argos" (in text)
French Southern and Antarctic TerritoriesC114 dsDeluxe sheet (C114)
French Southern and Antarctic TerritoriesC114 fdc1Stamp on FDC
French Southern and Antarctic TerritoriesC114 fdc2Stamp and (Éditions J. F. Courbevoie) cachet on FDC
French Southern and Antarctic TerritoriesC147 (Mi383)1998Penguin with Argos transmitter; "Manchots Argos" (in text)
French Southern and Antarctic Territories468b (Mi783)One of strip of 5 (468 (a-e + 5 labels)) (Mi782-786), or five of MS25 (468f (5x 468 (a-e + 5 labels))2012King penguin with Argos transmitter
Malagasy Republic969 (Mi1248A)
i969 (Mi1248B)
One of MS6 (972b (967-972)) (Mi1246A-1251A)
One of imperforate MS6 (i972b (i967-i972)) (Mi1246B-1251B)
1990"Système Argos" and "Programmes de Suivi Appliqués aux Éléphants en Namibie" (Tracking Programs for Namibian Elephants, in text)
Malagasy Republic969a (BL135)
i969a
SS1 (969)
Imperforate SS1 (i969)
Malagasy Republic1304A (Mi1799aA-1804aA)
i1304A (Mi1799aB-1804aB)
On one of MS6, 972b overprinted in silver
On one of imperforate MS6, i972b overprinted in silver
1996"Système Argos" and "Programmes de Suivi Appliqués aux Éléphants en Namibie" (Tracking Programs for Namibian Elephants, in text)
Malagasy Republic1304B (Mi1799bA-1804bA)
i1304B (Mi1799bB-1804bB)
On one of MS6, 972b overprinted in gold
On one of imperforate MS6, i972b overprinted in gold
United StatesNone(Rubber-stamp) cachets on Nimbus-3 post-launch cover1970Wyoming elk (Monique) tracking, Operation MOE (Movement of Elk), likely using Interrogation Recording and Location System (IRLS), precursor to Argos
United StatesNone(Rubber-stamp) cachets (different) on Nimbus-3 post-launch cover, also back
United StatesNoneCover back, also front1978Argos logo; Mojave orbitography station - "Argos specific" (in text); TIROS-N - first satellite with Argos system (in text)
Data Collection System (DCS) on geostationary satellites1
FranceC51 sc (Mi2157 sc)Souvenir card1981"collection of data measured by automatic or semi-automatic platforms" (referring to DCS equipment)
Micronesia297 (BL41)In (lower) margin of SS11998"data is transmitted from the buoys via satellite" (referring to DCS equipment)

1Data Collection System (DCS) is similar to Argos, but is carried on geostationary satellites.


Below is a list of Argos and DCS on satellite and balloon launch covers.

CountryCancel DateCancel LocationType of ItemNotes on Content
Argos data collection and location system
United States1969-04-14Vandenberg AFB, CA(Orbit Covers) cachet on Nimbus-3 and SECOR-13 launch cover"Interrogation Recording and Location System" (IRLS), precursor to Argos
United States1970-04-08Vandenberg AFB, CA(Orbit Covers) cachet on Nimbus-4 and Topo-1 launch cover"Interrogation Recording and Location System" (IRLS), precursor to Argos
United States1978-10-13Vandenberg AFB, CA(RCA) cachet on TIROS-N launch cover(Argos) "Data Collection System"
United States1978-10-13Vandenberg AFB, CA(Association philatélique du CNES) cachet on TIROS-N launch cover, also backArgos (also logo on back)
United States1978-10-13GSFC, MD(CNES) cachet on TIROS-N launch cover back, also frontArgos logo, and "TIROS-N Argos"
South Africa1981-09-15Pretoria(Lollini) cachet on stratospheric balloon launch cover"Balise Argos"; (refers to Argos transmitter, but there is no apparent relation to Argos transmitters in the rest of the cover, except that the ATN-type/NOAA satellite depicted does represent the type of satellite that could receive Argos transmitter signals)
Data Collection System (DCS) on geostationary satellites1
United States1974-05-17Cape Canaveral FL(Orbit Covers) cachet on SMS-1 launch cover"Data collection platforms"
United States1975-02-06Cape Canaveral FL(Orbit Covers) cachet on SMS-2 launch cover"Data collection platforms"
United States1975-10-16Kennedy Space Center FL(Space Voyage) cachet on GOES-1 launch cover"will collect and relay environmental data for weather detection and prediction, observation of ocean currents, monitor of water levels, etc."
United States1975-10-16Cape Canaveral FL(Space Voyage) cachet on GOES-1 launch cover
United States1975-10-16Cape Canaveral FL(Orbit Covers) cachet on GOES-1 launch cover"receive and transmit environmental info
up to 10,000 manned and un-manned data collection platforms"
United States1977-07-14Cape Canaveral FL(Orbit Covers) cachet on GMS-1 launch cover"receive and transmit environmental info
up to 10,000 manned and un-manned data collection platforms"
United States1977-11-22GSFC, MD(GSFC Stamp Club) cachet on Meteosat-1 launch cover"data collection from remote stations, both land and buoys"
United States1978-06-16Cape Canaveral FL(Centennial) cachet on GOES-3 launch cover"can collect weather data from up to 10,000 ground stations in six hours"
United States1981-08-10Greenbelt MD(Space Voyage) cachet on GMS-2 launch coverpicture of data being collected from a ship and an ocean buoy
Japan1981-08-11Minamitane(Space Voyage) cachet (different color) on GMS-2 launch cover
Japan1981-08-11Tsukubagakuen(Space Voyage) cachet (different color) on GMS-2 launch cover
United States1983-04-28Greenbelt MD(GSFC Stamp Club) cachet on GOES-6 launch cover"collects local environmental data"
United States1983-04-28Kennedy Space Center FL(SCPS) cachet on GOES-6 launch cover"collect local environmental data...from up to 10,000 automated ground stations" (referring to DCS equipment)
United States1986-05-03Greenbelt MD(GSFC Stamp Club) cachet on GOES-G [failed] launch cover"data collection, data relay"
United States1987-02-26Greenbelt MD(GSFC Stamp Club) cachet on GOES-7 launch cover"data collection, data relay"
United States1989-09-05Greenbelt MD(Space Voyage) cachet on GMS-4 launch coverpicture of data being collected from a ship and an ocean buoy
Japan1989-09-06Tsukubagakuen(Space Voyage) cachet (different color) on GMS-4 launch cover
Japan1989-09-06Tsukubagakuen (scenic cancel)(Space Voyage) cachet (different color) GMS-4 launch on cover

1Data Collection System (DCS) is similar to Argos, but is carried on geostationary satellites.


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