BackForward Satellite Programme: Nimbus 

Programme details
Programme description
  • Series of 7 satellites for concepts/instruments demonstration and scientific experiments, mostly intended to pave the way for operational meteorological satellite programmes, namely TOS/ESSA and NOAA polar orbiters.
  • USA programme: NASA responsible of development and operations.
  • The satellites are actively stabilised over 3 axes.
  • The design lifetime is 2 years.
  • Orbits are sunsynchronous, around 12:00.
  • Replacement policy not explicitly pursued, but satellites were launched at roughly 2-year intervals.
  • See detailed description at
Data circulation
  • Global data stored onboard and downlinked to the CDA (Command and Data Acquisition station) at Fairbanks and processed at NASA/GSFC.
  • Real-time image broadcasting performed by Nimbus-1 to Nimbus-4 through the Automatic Picture Transmission system; and for selected instruments by Nimbus-5 and Nimbus-6 through the beacon.
Agencies NASA
Programme lifetime 1964 - 1994
Associated satellites and instruments

Note: red tag => no longer operational , green tag => operational , blue tag => planned