polar satellite

Polar-orbiting
weather satellites


Below are checklists of polar-orbiting weather satellites, including launch dates and images of the satellites. This is a work in progress, and completeness is our goal. If readers know of additional information or images, please contact the authors using the e-mail addresses at the bottom of this page.


Satellite series covered:


US Television and InfraRed Observation Satellite (TIROS) series:

SatelliteLaunch DateImages
referencelaunch coversother postal items
TIROS-1 (TIROS-A)1960-04-01TIROS-1
TIROS-1
TIROS-1
TIROS-1/8 type
TIROS-1/8 type
TIROS-1/8 type
TIROS-1/8 type
TIROS-1/8 type
TIROS-1/8 type
TIROSTIROS and ESSA
TIROS-2 (TIROS-B)1960-11-23
TIROS-3 (TIROS-C)1961-07-12
TIROS-4 (TIROS-D)1962-02-08
TIROS-5 (TIROS-E)1962-06-19
TIROS-6 (TIROS-F)1962-09-18TIROS-6
TIROS-7 (TIROS-G)1963-06-19
TIROS-8 (TIROS-H)1963-12-21TIROS-8
TIROS-9 (TIROS-I)1965-01-22TIROS-9
TIROS/ESSA type (camera thru side)
TIROS/ESSA type (camera thru side)
TIROS/ESSA type (camera thru side)
TIROS-10 (OT-1)1965-07-02

US Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA) satellites / TIROS Operational System (TOS):

SatelliteLaunch DateImages
referencelaunch coversother postal items
ESSA-1 (OT-3)1966-02-03ESSAESSATIROS and ESSA
ESSA-2 (OT-2)1966-02-28ESSA-2
ESSA-3 (TOS-A)1966-10-02ESSA-3
ESSA-4 (TOS-B)1967-01-26
ESSA-5 (TOS-C)1967-04-20
ESSA-6 (TOS-D)1967-11-10ESSA-6
ESSA-7 (TOS-E)1968-08-16ESSA-7
ESSA-8 (TOS-F)1968-12-15
ESSA-9 (TOS-G)1969-02-26

US Nimbus-series satellites:

SatelliteLaunch DateImages
referencelaunch coversother postal items
Nimbus-1 (Nimbus-A)1964-08-28Nimbus
Nimbus
Nimbus
Nimbus
Nimbus-1
Nimbus-1
NimbusNimbus
Nimbus-2 (Nimbus-C)1966-05-15Nimbus-2
Nimbus-B [failed]1968-05-18
Nimbus-3 (Nimbus-B2)1969-04-13Nimbus-3
Nimbus-4 (Nimbus-D)1970-04-08Nimbus-4
Nimbus-4
Nimbus-5 (Nimbus-E)1972-12-10Nimbus-5
Nimbus-5/6 type
Nimbus-6 (Nimbus-F)1975-06-12Nimbus-6
Nimbus-5/6 type
Nimbus-7 (Nimbus-G)1978-10-24Nimbus-7
Nimbus-7
Nimbus-7
Nimbus-7

US Improved TIROS Operational System (ITOS) / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) series:

SatelliteLaunch DateImages
referencelaunch coversother postal items
TIROS-M (ITOS-1)1970-01-23ITOS (NOAA)
ITOS (NOAA)
ITOS (NOAA)
ITOS-type/TIROS-N-type/ATN-type (NOAA)ITOS-type/TIROS-N-type/ATN-type (NOAA)
NOAA-1 (ITOS-A)1970-12-11
ITOS-B [failed]1971-10-21
ITOS-C / ITOS-E2Never launched
NOAA-2 (ITOS-D)1972-10-15NOAA-2
ITOS-E / ITOS-E1 [failed]1973-07-16
NOAA-3 (ITOS-F)1973-11-06NOAA-3
NOAA-4 (ITOS-G)1974-11-15
NOAA-5 (ITOS-H)1976-07-29
(Later) NOAA-series satellites

US Next Generation TIROS-N / NOAA series:

SatelliteLaunch DateImages
referencelaunch coversother postal items
(Earlier) NOAA-series satellites
TIROS-N1978-10-13TIROS-N
TIROS-N
ITOS-type/TIROS-N-type/ATN-type (NOAA)ITOS-type/TIROS-N-type/ATN-type (NOAA)
NOAA-6 (NOAA-A)1979-06-27
NOAA-B [failed]1980-05-29
NOAA-7 (NOAA-C)1981-06-23
NOAA-12 (NOAA-D)11991-05-14see ATN (NOAA)
(Later) NOAA-series satellites

1NOAA-D was launched as NOAA-12, long after the rest of the TIROS-N and NOAA-A — NOAA-C series.

US Advanced TIROS-N (ATN) / NOAA series:

SatelliteLaunch DateImages
referencelaunch coversother postal items
(Earlier) NOAA-series satellites
NOAA-8 (NOAA-E) / SARSAT-11983-03-28ATN (NOAA)
ATN (NOAA)
ATN (NOAA)
ATN (NOAA)
ITOS-type/TIROS-N-type/ATN-type (NOAA)ITOS-type/TIROS-N-type/ATN-type (NOAA)
NOAA-9 (NOAA-F) / SARSAT-21984-12-12
NOAA-10 (NOAA-G) / SARSAT-31986-09-17
NOAA-11 (NOAA-H) / SARSAT-4 / Argos-11988-09-24
NOAA-12 (NOAA-D)1 / Argos-11991-05-14see TIROS-N (NOAA)
NOAA-13 (NOAA-I) / SARSAT-51993-08-09
NOAA-14 (NOAA-J) / SARSAT-6 / Argos-11994-12-30
NOAA-15 (NOAA-K) / SARSAT-7 / Argos-21998-05-13NOAA-15
NOAA-15
NOAA-16 (NOAA-L) / SARSAT-8 / Argos-22000-09-21
NOAA-17 (NOAA-M) / SARSAT-9 / Argos-22002-06-24NOAA-17
NOAA-17
NOAA-18 (NOAA-N) / SARSAT-10 / Argos-22005-05-20NOAA-18
NOAA-18
NOAA-19 (NOAA-N' (N-prime)) / SARSAT-12 / Argos-32009-02-06NOAA-19
NOAA-19
(Later) NOAA-series satellites

1NOAA-D was launched as NOAA-12, long after the rest of the TIROS-N and NOAA-A — NOAA-C series.

US Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) series (formerly the National Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) series):

SatelliteLaunch DateImages
referencelaunch coversother postal items
(Earlier) NOAA-series satellites
Suomi / S-NPP / JPSS-0 (formerly NPP)2011-10-28NPOESS
NPOESS
NPOESS (patch)
NPOESS (patch)
S-NPP
S-NPP
S-NPP (patch)
JPSS (patch)
S-NPP / JPSSS-NPP / JPSS
JPSS-1 (formerly NPOESS-1) / NOAA-202017-11-18JPSS-1
JPSS-2 (formerly NPOESS-2) / NOAA-212021-?JPSS-2
JPSS-3 / PFO2026-?
JPSS-4 / PFO2031-?

Russian Meteor-series satellites:

SatelliteLaunch DateImages
referencelaunch coversother postal items
Kosmos-44 (Meteor-1 #1)1964-08-28Kosmos-100 (Meteor-1)
Kosmos-144
Kosmos-144
MeteorMeteor
Kosmos-58 (Meteor-1 #2)1965-02-25
Kosmos-100 (Meteor-1 #3)1965-12-17
Kosmos-118 (Meteor-1 #4)1966-05-11
Kosmos-122 (Meteor-1 #5)1966-06-25
Kosmos-144 (Meteor-1 #6)1967-02-28
Kosmos-156 (Meteor-1 #7)1967-04-27
Kosmos-184 (Meteor-1 #8)1967-10-24
Kosmos-206 (Meteor-1 #9)1968-03-14
Kosmos-226 (Meteor-1 #10)1968-06-12
Kosmos-(265) (Meteor-1 #11) [failed]1969-02-04
Meteor-1-11969-03-26Meteor-1
Meteor-1
Meteor-Priroda
Meteor-1-30
Meteor-1-21969-10-06
Meteor-1-31970-03-17
Meteor-1-41970-04-28
Meteor-1-51970-06-23
Meteor-1-61970-10-15
Meteor-1-71971-01-20
Meteor-1-81971-04-17
Meteor-1-91971-07-16
Meteor-1-101971-12-29
Meteor-1-111972-03-30
Meteor-1-121972-06-30
Meteor-1-131972-10-26
Meteor-1-141973-03-20
Meteor-1-151973-05-29
Meteor-1-161974-03-05
Meteor-1-171974-04-24
Meteor-1-18 / Priroda-11974-07-09
Meteor-1-191974-10-28
Meteor-1-201974-12-17
Meteor-1-211975-04-01
Meteor-1-221975-09-18
Meteor-1-231975-12-25
Meteor-1-241976-04-07
Meteor-1-25 / Priroda-21976-05-15
Meteor-1-261976-10-15
Meteor-1-271977-04-05
Meteor-1-28 / Priroda-31977-06-29
Meteor-1-29 / Priroda-41979-01-25
Meteor-1-30 / Priroda-51980-06-18
Meteor-1-31 / Priroda-61981-07-10
Meteor-2-11975-07-11Meteor-2
Meteor-2
Meteor-2-21977-01-06
Meteor-2-31977-12-14
Meteor-2-41979-03-01
Meteor-2-51979-10-31
Meteor-2-61980-09-09
Meteor-2-71981-05-14
Meteor-2-81982-03-25
Meteor-2-91982-12-14
Meteor-2-101983-10-28
Meteor-2-111984-07-05
Meteor-2-121985-02-06
Meteor-2-131985-12-26
Meteor-2-141986-05-27
Meteor-2-151987-01-05
Meteor-2-161987-08-18
Meteor-2-171988-01-30
Meteor-2-181989-02-28
Meteor-2-191990-06-29
Meteor-2-201990-09-28
Meteor-2-211993-08-31
Kosmos-1612 (Meteor-3 (1a))1984-11-27Meteor-3
Meteor-3
Meteor-3
Meteor-3-11985-10-24
Meteor-3-21988-07-26
Meteor-3-31989-10-24
Meteor-3-41991-04-24
Meteor-3-5 / TOMS-21991-08-15
Meteor-3-61994-01-25
Meteor-3M / SAGE-32001-12-10Meteor-3M
Meteor-3M
Meteor-M12009-09-17Meteor-M
Meteor-M22014-07-08
Meteor-M2-1 [failed]2017-11-28
Meteor-M2-22018-?
Meteor-M2-42020-?
Meteor-M2-52021-?
Meteor-M3202x-?Meteor-M3

China/PRC Feng Yun (FY-1 and FY-3) polar-orbiting satellites:

SatelliteLaunch DateImages
referencelaunch coversother postal items
FY-1-1 (FY-1A)1988-09-06FY-1 (earlier, 3-section solar panels)
FY-1 (earlier, 3-section solar panels)
FY-1 (later, 4-section solar panels)
FY-1+FY-2A
FY-1FY-1
FY-1-2 (FY-1B)1990-09-03
FY-1C1999-05-10
FY-1D2002-05-15
FY-3A2008-05-27FY-3A
FY-3A
FY-3FY-3
FY-3B2010-11-04
FY-3C2013-09-23
FY-3D2017-11-14

European METeorological OPerational (MetOp) satellites:

SatelliteLaunch DateImages
referencelaunch coversother postal items
MetOp-A / SARSAT-11 / Argos-32006-10-19MetOp (early-design)
MetOp
MetOpMetOp
MetOp-B / SARSAT-13 / Argos-32012-09-17
MetOp-C2018-?
MetOp-SG-A1 / Sentinel-52021-?MetOp-SG-A


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Updated: 2018-07-09