On 1 April 1960, the first weather satellite, TIROS-1 was launched into space.
It was the first low-Earth orbital weather satellite
TIROS-1 was launched from Cape Canaveral and was a joint mission from NASA, US Army Signal Research and Development Laboratory, RCA, US Weather Bureau, and the US Naval Photographic Interpretation Center.
The goal of the mission was to see if satellites were useful to study Earth.
More specifically, they wanted to get answers such as "should we evacuate the coast because of the hurricane?"
The TIROS-1 Satellite
The satellite was powered by solar cells and had two cameras on board, a wide angle and a narrow camera.
It could only take pictures in daylight.
The 78 day mission was a huge success. It proved that satellites could provide the necessary data for accurate weather forecasts such as cloud patterns forming and moving across the face of the planet.
It was also a stepping stone for later launches of more sophisticated weather satellites in the TIROS program.
In this first picture taken by TIROS-1 the coast of Maine and Canada's Maritime Provinces are visible.