ATS-I December 12, 1966

40 Years of Geostationary Satellites through the Vision of Verner E. Suomi

December 6th, 2006 represents an historic day for the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Forty years ago, NASA launched the Applications Technology Satellite-I (ATS-I) at Cape Canaveral, carrying as its payload, the Spin-Scan Camera.  The camera, one of Verner Suomi’s “gadgets,” started a revolution in satellite meteorology felt around the globe.  And appropriately, by some sort of cosmic coincidence, this event occurred on Vern’s 51st birthday.

Not only did the ATS-I transmit the first full-disk Earth images from geosynchronous orbit, but the technology pioneered continuous viewing of weather from space. The ability to obtain continuous satellite imagery of fixed points on the Earth, allowed scientists to study changing meteorological conditions for the first time.

Chancellor John Wiley (1995) said it best:

Verner Suomi was a giant of modern science.  His inventions were simple and elegant, and their consequences are ubiquitous.  Anyone looking at a satellite image of the Earth on the evening weather is looking at the product of
a rare mind.

Please join me in celebrating, “40 Years of Geostationary Satellites through the Vision of Verner E. Suomi.”    We’ve reserved Room 204 at the Educational Sciences Building for two talks on Wednesday, December 6th.  The first, to be delivered by Paul Menzel, will chronicle our rich history in geostationary observations.  The second, by Steve Ackerman, will feature current and future geostationary research, all of which has roots in Suomi’s early accomplishments.  The program begins at 3:30pm and runs until 5:00pm.

Hank Revercomb, Director, SSEC

SSEC CIMSS University of Wisconsin
Last updated Nov 13th, 2006
by SSEC Webmaster